Strafford Associates Chartered Surveyors
48 Grange Park Drive
It can come as a nasty shock towards the end of a lease (or even after) when a Landlord requires extensive work from a Tenant to remedy damage or disrepair or to put the premises back in their original state if a Tenant has made internal alterations.
If a Tenant does not carry out this work, it may be required to pay the cost of having it done.
As a Tenant you may be able to challenge your Landlord's list of required repair work, referred to as a schedule of dilapidations. However, to be in a strong position you need to consider the dilapidations question right at the outset of the lease, which is an area that Strafford Associates is able to advise on and assist with.
Before you take a lease a survey will establish the condition of the premises, giving an indication of work that may be needed, both immediately and later.
If the premises are already in bad repair, special considerations apply (see below). During the term of the lease, regular or planned maintenance can avoid greater expense later
Most commercial leases require the Tenant to put and keep the property in repair. Unless a Tenant and a Landlord specifically agree otherwise, the fact that the premises were in a poor condition when a Tenant took them on is irrelevant – the Tenant will still have to put them right. It is essential therefore that a Tenant is aware of the condition of the premises at the outset of the lease and the maintenance and repair obligations that it is signing up to. Strafford Associates is able to assist in establishing the condition of a property and negotiating a rent that reflects the condition of the premises or to negotiate lease term that provide for the premises to be returned at the end of the lease in a condition similar to the state in which a Tenant took them.
This depends on the terms of the lease and any licences that the Landlord granted a Tenant to make alterations. On granting consent for alterations a Landlord will generally require a Tenant to restore the property to its original state if requested to do so at the end of the lease. Therefore, unless the Landlord thinks that alterations have added value, a Tenant will generally be required to reinstate the property at the end of the lease or pay the cost for the Landlord to do so. The exception is if neither the lease nor the licence for alterations gives the Landlord the option of requesting reinstatement.
If you cannot reach agreement, the Landlord has recourse to the court. But this is a slow process and expensive for both sides. Landlords will generally avoid it if they can.
Consult your solicitor as well as a chartered surveyor if things look like taking this course - in a court hearing your chartered surveyor will be able to act as an expert witness on your behalf.
We represent both Landlords and Tenants and are able to advise on the three types of Schedules of Dilapidations:
Interim schedule – made during the lease term, usually prior to the final three years.
Terminal schedule – made during the last three years of the term.
Final schedule – after expiry of the term. This schedule would normally be costed.