Like Tree9Likes

Landlord is claiming the contract's 'break clause' means we need to give him two month's notice

Reply
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
  1. #1

    Landlord is claiming the contract's 'break clause' means we need to give him two month's notice

    Quite similar to another post but different enough that I'm hoping for some more targeted advice.

    Essentially, it seems our landlord is looking to withhold our two month's rent security deposit of $30,000.

    As the end of our one-year lease is approaching on April 15th, I gave him a courtesy text a couple of days ago to thank him for being a reliable landlord and to inform him we would be moving out on the 15th - the last day of our contract.

    He messaged me back: "You must provide 2 months notice. (Plz see Break Clause of Tenancy Agreement), so you should move out on June 15th."

    The 'break clause' he speaks of is the standard 'break of contract' clause that quite clearly states that if we end the agreement "early" (very specifically - it says EARLY!) we are required to give two month's notice (or obviously alternatively, he will keep our security deposit).

    I tried many times in a phone call to explain to him that we are not breaking the contract, we are merely choosing not to renew our tenancy - I even said we'd be happy to vacate whenever he wants to show prospective tenants around. He simply kept saying: "the contract says you have to give two month's notice."

    I'm not sure what to do for the best here. I have a new place lined-up to move into from April 15th (now, actually) and I need my deposit back.

    He wants to meet to discuss the matter on Saturday - I tried to insist we meet sooner, but tellingly he said Saturday was the earliest we could meet. My suspicious side has me thinking he wants to see the last month of rent clear before we meet, but I could be being too suspicious!

    I'm not sure whether his English is such that he doesn't understand what that 'clause' actually means, although I'm pretty sure he's simply trying to withhold the deposit.

    The last rent payment for the final month was set to leave my account in a few days, and I cancelled that direct debit with the bank after reading some other posts on this forum as I really cannot afford to lose any more money, but as far as what I do after that goes and what I should do now towards getting my deposit back, I could really use some advice.

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks.

    Last edited by Bertstandards; 08-03-2016 at 06:28 PM.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Hong Kong
    Posts
    12,008

    Find a friend who is a lawyer to write an official sounding letter saying you are right and that you will be claiming in the small claims court for damages if he does not pay


  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by HK_Katherine:
    Find a friend who is a lawyer to write an official sounding letter saying you are right and that you will be claiming in the small claims court for damages if he does not pay
    Thanks. Definitely one of the measures I was considering, although I'm concerned about how long it could take, how expensive it might be and ultimately, whether it's worth the effort.

    Judging by some of the other posts I have read on this forum, it seems the small claims court is pretty toothless ...

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    2,608
    Quote Originally Posted by Bertstandards:
    Thanks. Definitely one of the measures I was considering, although I'm concerned about how long it could take, how expensive it might be and ultimately, whether it's worth the effort.

    Judging by some of the other posts I have read on this forum, it seems the small claims court is pretty toothless ...
    doesn't cost you much either though...

    one other thing, bring a witness on Saturday since his next ruse will be to claim damages to the apartment, hence he needs to keep some of the deposit back

    a hardball approach in case he indeed insist on keeping the deposit is a) to withhold returning the key except cash in hand (even beyond 15 June) and b) assuming your flat looks reasonably ok still, tell him that the flat might look nice if he returns the deposit, or might not look as nice if he keeps the deposit back

    with the above, changing the locks might be a good idea too

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Hong Kong
    Posts
    6,372

    Are you sure your lease is just one year?

    Pretty standard is 2 years, with first year being fixed and second year is the break clause. In that case, you need to give the two months notice.

    I would withhold last month and sounds like you're going to get screwed. He's going to try to negotiate a settlement and given you have little choice you might take it. Which is why landlords do this.

    jmbf, bdw, jrkob and 1 others like this.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    7,435

    MandM! may be right. One year leases are not common. Usually they are for two years, with the option to break after one year, but giving two months notice. This means 14 months is the earliest you can leave.


  7. #7

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    2,128
    Quote Originally Posted by MandM!:
    Are you sure your lease is just one year?

    Pretty standard is 2 years, with first year being fixed and second year is the break clause. In that case, you need to give the two months notice.
    I was just thinking this as well. Are you absolutely sure your contract is just one year? Or are you thinking of the fixed year portion of a standard 2 year contract?

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by MandM!:
    Are you sure your lease is just one year?

    Pretty standard is 2 years, with first year being fixed and second year is the break clause. In that case, you need to give the two months notice.

    I would withhold last month and sounds like you're going to get screwed. He's going to try to negotiate a settlement and given you have little choice you might take it. Which is why landlords do this.
    Thanks for the responses.

    Yes, I'm absolutely certain it is a one-year agreement. I insisted on it as I wasn't sure what our situation would be after 12 months. He was reluctant to give me one year, but there was no interest in his apartment so he allowed us the one year we asked for
    HK_Katherine likes this.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    7,151

    What does the actual contract say? You do have your own copy I suppose. Is the contract for 12 months or 24 months? Again, that should be pretty clear - this is also needed for Stamp Duty - was the contract actually stamped? Finally, is the contract is English?


  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    359

    If it is a one-year contract, do you still need to give notice if you are going to fulfill the whole year? Is there any legal obligation after that?


Reply
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast