UK: Break Options: Landlord Ordered To Repay Apportioned Rent After Break Date

Last Updated: 14 July 2013
Article by Robin Biela

Summary and implications

In a recent High Court case, a landlord was ordered to repay an apportioned amount of rent and other sums paid by a tenant in advance under a pre-condition to a break option.1 The tenant had served a break notice, to bring the lease to an end mid-quarter.

There was no express clause in the lease requiring the landlord to return the money. However, the court implied a term into the lease obliging the landlord to refund apportioned sums paid in advance, but which related to the period after the break date.

Implications for landlords and tenants

The M&S decision is a departure from a recent line of case law in which the court has found in a landlord's favour when interpreting apportionment wording following service of a break notice.2

This case is, therefore, a significant and tenant-friendly landmark:

  • Tenants will confidently demand refunds from landlords for sums paid in advance following determination of a lease under a break option.
  • By implying a repayment obligation, and pending any appeal, the decision shifts the burden to the landlord to distinguish this case and prove that sums paid in advance may be retained.
  • To avoid uncertainty, parties to a lease should specifically agree how rent and other payments made in advance should be treated after the exercise of a break option.
  • This case does not overrule current authority that a tenant must pay the full quarter's rent to successfully operate a break option if the option requires payment of all sums due "up to" the break date. However, the case does open the door to a further court challenge on the point.

The M&S lease contained two pre-conditions regarding payment of money to the landlord

M&S served a notice to determine its lease on 24 January 2012. Determination of the lease was subject to two important pre-conditions:

  1. There were no arrears of rent on 24 January 2012.
  2. The tenant had paid to the landlord the sum of £919,800 plus VAT on or before 24 January 2012.

M&S complied with these pre-conditions, paying the full December quarter's rent and the additional sum of £919,800 plus VAT. Accordingly, the lease determined on the break date.

Following determination of the lease, M&S sought a repayment from the landlord in respect of sums paid for the period following the break date.

The landlord would not return the funds and M&S applied to court seeking repayment on three grounds:

  1. an express lease term; and/or
  2. an implied term; and/or
  3. in restitution due to a failure of consideration.

The court disagreed with M&S on grounds (1) and (3) but upheld ground (2)

The court rejected ground (1). Rent under the lease was payable "proportionately for any part of a year". However, because it was not certain on the December quarter day that the lease would end on the break date the court held that a full quarter's rent was payable on the December quarter day.

The court also rejected ground (3), holding that consideration (being the December quarter's rent had not totally failed.

The court did uphold ground (2), and implied a term into the lease requiring the landlord to repay an apportioned sum for the period from the break date.3

The court considered that the correct approach was to discover what was intended by the lease. In doing so, the court was conscious that it was not entitled to introduce terms simply to make the lease fairer or more reasonable.

In deciding whether to imply the term sought, the court gave significant weight to the penalty payment which M&S paid as a pre-condition to the break, stating that it would be unlikely that the parties would have intended that the landlord should be entitled to retain the balance of the quarter's rent in addition to the penalty payment.

Disputing the return of apportioned rent

The decision will encourage tenants to confidently demand the return of rent following early lease determination under a break clause. In reply, landlords will wish to distinguish the facts of their case from this case. In doing so, the following lease provisions should be carefully considered:

  • Any apportionment wording in the lease.
  • Rent payment dates.
  • Any penalty payment which the tenant must make as a pre-condition to the break.
  • Any other indication of the parties' intentions regarding rent following successful operation of a break clause.

Click here for a summary of the PCE Investors case.


1. Marks and Spencer PLC v BNP Paribas Securities Services Trust Company (Jersey) Ltd and another [2013] EWHC 1279 (Ch)

2. Including PCE Investors Ltd v Cancer Research UK and Canonical UK Ltd v TST Milbank LLC

3. Mr Justice Morgan adopted Lord Hoffman's approach in A.G. of Belize v Belize Telecom Ltd [2009] 1 WLR 1988

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.