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Dilapidations

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What is Dilapidation?

Dilapidation is the term used to describe a disrepair in a building which a tenant has leased from a landlord. There will be a lease between the landlord and the tenant. This is normally for either the whole building, or a part of the building. If part of a building is leased, that area is usually referred to as the ‘demise.’

How Soon Should a Tenant Think About Dilapidations

A landlord and tenant should think about Dilapidations before they commence the lease. Ideally, the tenant should have a full commercial building survey undertaken which should include advice on the repairing liabilities terms, and the wording of same, of the proposed lease for the tenant and the landlord. After the premises have been surveyed a schedule of condition should be taken to accurately record the condition before the lease commences.

What is a Schedule of Condition

At a minimum a prospective tenant should have a schedule of condition taken of the premises before they take up occupation. A schedule of condition is a document including all the elements leased in the building/part of building to a specific tenant. They are scheduled in tabular form with three headings:- Item, Description, Condition. Although photographs are a useful addition, they are no substitute for an accurate detailed schedule of condition. A schedule of condition should be undertaken by a Chartered Building Surveyor experienced in the type of construction and defects/condition contained therein. The schedule of condition must be dated and appended to the lease.

What Shall We Do if the Premises are in a Bad State of Repair

It is likely that under the terms of the lease you will have to put them right or keep the premises in repair. You are advised to take professional advice from an experienced Chartered Building Surveyor who deals with dilapidation matters before you agree the terms of the lease.

We Want to Make Alterations to the Demise We Have Leased. Are We Allowed?

This will depend upon the terms of the lease. The lease provisions may permit a ‘Licence for Alteration’ to be granted with any drawings/schedules/specifications of work prepared by a Chartered Building Surveyor, and the wording of the Licence to be drawn up by the Landlord’s Solicitor. The Licence for Alteration would normally be appended to the existing lease between the Landlord and the Tenant.

When Can We Expect to Receive a Schedule of Dilapidations?

An Interim Schedule of Dilapidations is normally served by the Landlord, or a Solicitor acting on their behalf, when the lease has three years to run. A Terminal Schedule of Dilapidations can be served at the end of the lease. It is not unusual for the Landlord and the Tenant to appoint a Chartered Building Surveyor, experienced in the Law of Dilapidations and construction, to act for each party.

For further advice on the above, or any other Dilapidations matters, telephone 020 8995 1750 and speak to an experienced Chartered Building Surveyor about your particular Dilapidations question or concern.