Dilapidations are an important area when it comes to commercial properties. When leasing a property, your landlord will give specific permissions relating to what you can and cannot do under the lease. Fail to follow these permissions and you could find yourself with dilapidation.
What are Dilapidations?
Dilapidation is a particular area of law that relates to the breaching of a tenant’s lease obligations or covenants. The landlord can make a dilapidation claim against the tenant at from any time during the lease to after the lease has come to an end. The landlord can make a claim with a document that is often referred to as a Schedule of Dilapidation. Within this document, you will find references to lease obligations that the tenant may have breached. In most cases, these claims will relate to physical changes that may be required as a result of repairs and redecoration. Landlords can often claim a cost of more than a years worth of rent.
If you are unaware or do not understand your obligations, these can be made clear by speaking with your solicitor or surveyor. They will help you understand them better and how you should comply with them.
The way in which a lease clause is worded can have a huge impact on your liabilities. As such, you must make yourself aware of dilapidations when looking for a property. When discussing heads of terms with prospective landlords, make sure you are fully aware of who is responsible for what areas within the lease.
A Schedule of Condition can be useful for ensuring your lease liabilities are kept to a certain limit. It will also make things easier if you make yourself aware of the condition that the property is in from the very beginning. This will help you avoid signing for a property that is in poor condition when the lease states otherwise.
Once you have decided on a property, it is important that you keep safe records of everything from the moment you begin negotiating the lease to the moment the lease documents are complete. By doing so, you will have everything that you need when resolving disputes at the end of the lease. It will also help to keep the commercial property well-managed and maintained during your time of occupancy.
If you wish to sign for a commercial property with the intent of making alterations, it is important that you follow the rules of the lease. In many cases, you may need the landlord’s permission to make any physical changes to the property. You should also check to see if the changes you made must be undone when your lease comes to an end or if the landlord is happy for you to leave things as they are.
If you receive a Schedule of Dilapidations
If you receive a Schedule of Dilapidations, the first thing you should do is get in touch with an experienced surveyor or solicitor so that they can advise you. Once you know your next steps, follow them as quickly as possible. The surveyor will assess the property and will put together an itemised response on your behalf. They will also offer advice on how to manage the dilapidations process.
During claim negotiations, the building surveyor will use their understanding of the lease to produce a case that should reduce the claim. There are many other ways in which you can support your defence. Your building surveyor can choose the most appropriate arguments to use depending on the circumstances of the claim.
If you and your landlord fail to reach an agreement, there are many options for resolution, including the RICS Dispute Resolution Service. Be sure to check your lease for any information regarding disputes.
Let Betesh Middleton Law help you understand dilapidations
As you can see, dilapidations can be quite an in-depth process. This is why speaking with a solicitor will help make things easier to understand. Get in touch to learn more about our services.