Siemens Hearing Instruments Ltd v Friends Life Ltd (2013) was a High Court Decision that contradicted the orthodoxy that a Tenant’s break right in a lease is an option clause and (as such) must be adhered to strictly. The clause said the notice must be expressed to be given under Section 24(2) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 and it wasn’t.
That requirement was an old one designed to stop tenants coupling a break with a statutory request for a new tenancy to secure a reduced rent for the same premises in a falling market.
The Court ruled that the break clause’s draftsman should have spelt out the consequences of non compliance with the condition if they were intended to be fatal. Since he had not the Court felt it was left to it to decide the result of non compliance and it decided that it was not fatal to the Tenant’s break notice being effective.
The case offers hope to Tenants but should not be treated as a “get out of jail card” for any failure to comply with drafting requirements when it comes to preparing break notices. Tenants should not drop their guard and should make sure they comply with all the conditions. .