Over the years, we have come across the good, the bad, and the ugly of Schedules of Condition. A poor quality Schedule does nothing to assist with a dilapidations negotiation and in the worst cases we’ve seen, may as well not have existed!

Here we look at some of the issues and mistakes we have encountered – and how to avoid them!

No photography

A photograph or photographs of defects are a useful way of evidencing issues that are identified in a Schedule of Condition. Whilst descriptions are very useful, having suitable accompanying photography to show the detail and extent of the defect, along with a wider perspective of the defect within its surroundings, helps to provide a solid case for use in future dilapidations claims.

Poor photography

Photographs that are taken at too great a distance away, or are otherwise blurry or unclear, are almost worthless to offer any limiting liability when it comes to defending a dilapidations claim. Close up, high quality photographs that show the extent of a defect can be used to compare to later photographs to show any deterioration.

Lack of descriptive text

Whilst photography is an extremely useful resource in a Schedule of Condition, relying on photographs alone can mean missing other elements. A photograph only provides a snapshot in time of a specific defect – it doesn’t always show what else is going on in the room or out of the camera shot.

This is why Schedules of Condition need both photo and descriptions – to record the condition of the parts of the room that can’t be seen and elaborate on the parts that can!

Identifying the precise location of a defect is important point too. E.g. If a photo is taken of a dented cladding or damaged floor, then its location also needs to be referenced.

Other mistakes that can be made include the timing of a Schedule of Condition – ideally, a Schedule should be completed in advance of the tenant moving in, as this removes any doubt or potential comeback as to when the issue occurred.

Schedules of Condition that are prepared informally by tenants and not appended to the lease also carry little weight when it comes to terminal dilapidations negotiations.

The purpose of a Schedule of Condition is to limit the liability of a new tenant in relation to the dilapidations of a commercial property. Our Chartered Surveyors have been compiling such reports for years – and are able to prepare reports in such a way that they fulfil this purpose. Unfortunately, by trying to avoid the one-off fee associated with the preparation of a professional Schedule of Condition, tenants can unwittingly encumber themselves with a significant level of liability down the line.

To speak to one of our Building Surveyors about having a Schedule of Condition prepared, please get in touch.

Preston Office
Telephone: 01772 458866
Blackburn Office
Telephone: 01254 260196
Clitheroe Office
Telephone: 01200 320040
Lancaster Office
Telephone: 01524 899850
Lea Hough is a trading name of Lea Hough & Co LLP, which is a Limited Liability Partnership registered in England and Wales under partnership number OC306054.
Registered Office: 7 Ferry Road, Office Park, Preston, PR2 2YH.