Dilapidations: A Tenant’s Guide to the Practicalities
As a Tenant, you should be considering your obligations in respect of repair, reinstatement, decoration and yielding up well in advance of the expiry of your lease. In doing so, it is often worth thinking about what your immediate plans are at the end of the term as well as the plans of the Landlord. If the Landlord is going to refurbish or demolish the property, they may well take a substantially smaller sum to settle a potential claim for dilapidations or for an early surrender.
You should also consider whether you will benefit from the instruction of a surveyor at an early stage, to advise you on the works you need to do to comply with your obligations under the lease. This can be useful because they will then already be aware of matters and be in a position to assist you as and when a schedule of dilapidations is served.
Of course, the decision as to whether you want to attend to the works yourself (to save costs associated with Landlord appointed contractors) is one that should be carefully considered. If you do choose to do the works, you will lose the right to rely on ‘section 18’ of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1927, which is what the Landlords claim will be based upon should you not do the works yourself. This valuation is based on the damage to the Landlord’s reversion, and you should consider expert advice on this point as it could well be much less than the cost of doing the works personally.
If it does seem that a dilapidations claim is likely, then you should prepare a schedule of condition at the point that you yield the property up, for your own records. Whilst negotiations will likely follow, there are other factors that you should bear in mind:-
- Possible liability of third parties;
- Landlords compliance with the Dilapidations Protocol; and
- What the Landlord is entitled to recover under the Lease.
If proceedings are issued, or if you have been served with a Schedule of Dilapidations, our litigation team on readily available to discuss your options with you. Please contact us on 01942 246 241 for an initial discussion.