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Roofs – Get Protection from Dilapidations!

Tenants of commercial buildings should be aware that roofs can often be a costly item in terms of dilapidations claims at the end of leases, so we recommend that you get the roof checked before you occupy the property!

As per our previous blogs, we would always recommend that, when an ingoing Tenant is entering into an FRI (Full Repairing & Insuring) Lease, that they should have a Schedule of Condition put in place, to accompany the Lease. This would be a detailed record of condition of the building at the start of the term, and the Schedule will be appended to the Lease. Ordinarily, at the end of the Lease term, a Tenant will not be responsible for returning the building back to the Landlord in any better condition than was demonstrated by the Schedule of Condition.

As part of the Schedule of Condition, we would always recommend that the roof should be surveyed by a Chartered Building Surveyor, so that the Tenant is aware of the roof’s condition from the start.

It is often the case that roofs of commercial / industrial buildings are just not visible from ground level – either because the roofs are shallow pitched, or flat.

Therefore, we would always recommend the hire of a cherry picker wagon / MEWP (mobile access platform) to enable the Building Surveyor to undertake a close inspection of the roof. We can arrange this hire, and include the cost within our invoice for the Schedule of Condition.

Although Tenants have lots of outgoings when they are moving into a new building, the cost of the cherry picker / roof inspection is virtually always “money well spent”.

As an example, we recently undertook a Schedule of Condition on an industrial unit in Burnley, Lancashire on behalf of the Tenant and, during the close-up roof inspection we discovered that the roof was in very poor roof condition. Disrepair included cut edge corrosion to roof sheets, peeling coatings, damaged rooflights and corroded gutters. We made the Tenant aware of this and they raised it with the Landlord. The outcome was that the Landlord agreed to spend thousands of pounds upgrading the roof prior to the Tenant taking occupancy.

Had the Tenant not have been made aware of this, sure enough, the Tenant would have inherited responsibility for the poor condition of the roof and doubtless it would have been a huge expense in terms of dilapidations claim at the end of the lease term.

The moral of the story is that roofs can be a costly bone of contention in respect of dilapidations and so it’s worth paying slightly more money to get high-level access and having the roof assessed by a Building Surveyor at the very start of a lease!

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“We had a Schedule of Condition carried out on a Commercial Property. From vacant possession to our proposed completion date we were really tight on time. Gary managed to carry out the inspection and write a very thorough report in the time needed to ensure we hit our completion date. The price of the report was also extremely competitive. I would recommend Lea Hough to anyone looking for a Professional Surveyors with excellent service & communication at a competitive price.”

Danny Ambler - Fuse Contract Furniture, Blackburn