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Successful defence of dilapidations claims – why advice really does pay

Whether due to the fact they haven’t taken pre-emptive advice, such as having a Schedule of Condition, or simply due to their landlord being over-zealous when producing a dilapidations schedule, tenants can often find themselves facing an unexpectedly large bill (monetary claim) at the end of a lease.

Obligations around Dilapidations are included as part of leases as a way of landlords protecting the value in their property should it not be maintained by the tenant. Whilst most tenants would accept that this is a fair approach, they do not always realise the full extent of their obligations. For example, Dilapidations can cover any alterations made to a property’s layout, and extend to all parts of the property, including its roof and any external grounds.

Despite maintenance and repair responsibilities often being onerous, there are certain rules around what is deemed fair for a landlord to claim for in a Dilapidations Schedule. These are not always adhered to, however, and furthermore, some landlords may attempt to inflate the cost of repairs to their advantage.

Our Chartered Building Surveyors have recently acted on behalf of Tenants in various locations throughout the North West, including Salford, Greater Manchester, Cumbria, Cheshire and North Yorkshire.

Here are some of the recent Dilapidations Claims and the outcomes that have been reached with our advice:

Landlord’s Claim = £122,376. Full and Final Settlement = £14,000. 88.5% reduction from the initial claim. Trafford, Greater Manchester

Landlord’s Claim = £77,681. Full and Final Settlement = £15,000. 80% reduction from the initial claim. Great Harwood, Lancashire

Landlord’s Claim = £60,000. Full and Final Settlement = £12,000. 79% reduction from the initial claim. Skipton, North Yorkshire

Landlord’s Claim = £10,368. Full and Final Settlement = £3,000. 71% reduction from the initial claim. Chester, Cheshire

The above examples speak for themselves in showing just how significant a difference our advice can make. They also exemplify the serious amounts that can be at stake in Dilapidations Claims; amounts that many businesses may struggle to meet if required to pay in full.

Unfortunately for tenants, these cases are not isolated incidents. Dilapidations claims can be significantly overstated and without access to professional advice, tenants could be liable to make full payment if the claim has been correctly produced and reasonable.

Professional advice is always key in resolving Dilapidations matters efficiently, sensibly and in line with obligations.

There are of course a number of ways in which tenants can protect themselves from facing unfair Dilapidations Claims – including having a detailed Pre-Lease Assessment and Schedule of Condition undertaken at the start of a lease term, as well as accessing professional advice on maintenance and upkeep of commercial properties.

Tenants requiring assistance regarding a Dilapidations matter should take advice at the earliest opportunity. Please contact our team here.

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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