Over the past few months, we have sadly seen many businesses scale down or decide to close their doors on a permanent basis. The damage cause by the Covid pandemic may be irreparable for many other businesses and with the future remaining uncertain as to future lockdowns and restrictions, there could be many more closures to come. As such, it’s important for landlords to take a proactive approach in relation to their properties and their condition.
For many landlords, dilapidations claims are associated with the end of lease terms and the process of appointing a surveyor to prepare a Schedule of Dilapidations is usually signalled at the point the tenant serves notice to leave.
However, the majority of leases allow for Interim Schedules of Dilapidations (SoD), which can be served on a tenant at any time during the lease.
Having an Interim Schedules of Dilapidations (SoD) prepared is a straightforward process and although not widely used by all landlords, is a legitimate and sensible way to ensure their properties are maintained to a good standard.
Landlords that are in regular contact with their tenants may have an idea as to those that are maintaining their properties to a good standard and those that are not.
Unfortunately, in these times, the chance that a business may face financial difficulty and ultimately go bust is not difficult to imagine. Should this happen, the Lease becomes cancelled and the Landlord will not only be left without a Tenant but will also be left with a building that is in poor condition. By getting a surveyor to inspect the building and prepare an Interim SoD, landlords can be sure that their building is put into good condition during the mid-term stage – just in case the tenant gets into financial difficulties post-Covid and defaults prior to the end of the Lease.
Landlords would be best advised not to just sit and wait to see what the Tenant does post-Covid and hope for the best…but to take proactive action and keep on top of their portfolio. This is especially the case if there are warning signs, such as tenants defaulting on their rent payments.
Hopefully, in the majority of cases, tenants will have taken their repair obligations seriously and maintained the property to a good standard.
When Leases come to an end, it may be likely that many Tenants will decide not to renew. This makes it all the more important for Landlords to pursue Interim Schedules of Dilapidations during the term, and keep their buildings in tip-top condition, whilst they have got chance to do so. It is better to keep on top of things during the Lease rather than waiting until a terminal Dilapidations situation at the end of the term.
For more advice on Interim Schedules of Dilapidations or any other matter relating to commercial property, please get in touch.