What is a break clause and how can it be used to terminate a lease?

Break clauses can be a crucial aspect of a tenancy agreement, offering flexibility and an exit strategy for both landlords and tenants. However, understanding the intricacies of break clauses is essential to ensure a smooth and legal termination of a lease. In this blog post, we will delve into the concept of break clauses, exploring their benefits, potential pitfalls, and providing practical tips for tenants and landlords alike.

1. What is a Break Clause?

A break clause is a provision within a tenancy agreement that allows either the landlord or the tenant (or both) to terminate the lease before the fixed term expires.

Break clauses typically include specific conditions and notice periods that must be met for the termination to be valid. A break clause can stipulate a fixed break date or a rolling break date after a fixed date.

2. Benefits for Tenants:

Flexibility: Break clauses provide tenants with the flexibility to end the lease early (i.e. before the expiration of the lease term), perhaps due to changing circumstances of the tenant’s business or for personal reasons.

Cost Savings: Avoiding the commitment of a fixed-term lease can be financially beneficial for tenants, especially if the lease is no longer suitable for the tenant’s business needs, for example due to growth.

3. Benefits for Landlords Break:

Property Management: Landlords may benefit from break clauses if they need to regain possession of the property for the purposes of renovations or an intention to sell the leased property.

Lease Adjustments: Break clauses allow landlords to terminate a lease for the purposes of adjusting and offering new lease terms to align with market conditions or changes in property value.

4. Common Pitfalls:

Strict Compliance:

Break clauses often have specific conditions that must be strictly adhered to, for example the tenant must comply with all of the tenant covenants in the lease. Failure to meet these conditions may render the lease termination invalid.

Notice Periods:

Both landlords and tenants must carefully follow the stipulated notice periods and must serve the break notice in accordance with the provisions outlined in the lease. The effect of failing to serve a valid break notice is that the lease could continue beyond the relevant break date or until it is otherwise determined.

Mutual Agreement:

Some break clauses require mutual agreement from both parties. If there is a lack of consensus, disputes may arise.

5. Practical Tips:

Thorough Review:

Tenants and landlords should carefully review break clauses before signing a lease. We would advise you to seek legal advice to ensure a clear understanding of the terms. It’s often useful to take advice while negotiating the lease terms so the correct option can be requested and agreed.


Open communication between tenants and landlords is crucial. Discussing potential use of the break clause in advance can help avoid misunderstandings.

Professional Advice:

Both parties should consider seeking professional advice, such as a property solicitor or property management services, to navigate break clauses effectively.

6. Break clauses play a vital role in providing flexibility and adaptability within leases. However, their successful implementation requires a clear understanding of the terms, strict compliance, and effective communication between landlords and tenants. By navigating break clauses with care, both parties can ensure a smoother and more harmonious leasing experience.