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Conditional break rights: rent traps for tenants

2 April 2012

These days, tenants have to negotiate a seemingly endless succession of traps in order to exercise a conditional break right successfully. The recent case of QuirkCo Investments Ltd v Aspray Transport Ltd [2011] EWHC 3060 (Ch) offers yet another example of what can go wrong.

The landlord, QuirkCo, tried to defeat its tenant’s break right on the grounds of non-payment of insurance rent. The tenant, Aspray, had successfully served a valid break notice on 10 March 2010.

In November, QuirkCo invoiced Aspray for the insurance rent, having sent a cheque to its insurers for the next year’s premium. Believing that it should only have been invoiced up to the break date, 18 December 2010, Aspray offered instead to pay £151.50 (although, in fact, it did not pay anything).

Since the break right was conditional on there being no arrears of any rents at the break date, Aspray would ordinarily have lost its break. Luckily for Aspray, the landlord...

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