Dilapidations is an area of law relating to a breach of lease and the covenants/obligations within. This could relate to the condition of the property that the tenant has allowed the property to fall into i.e. disrepair or physical alterations that the tenant may have undertaken. A dilapidation claim is served towards the end of a lease aby either the Landlord or the tenant and is referred to as a schedule of dilapidations.
The wording of the lease and the tenants repairing obligations are critical in understanding the repairing obligations of the tenant. If the tenant has an obligation within the lease to ‘maintain the property in a good condition’ then the tenant must do so. A schedule of condition of the property can be appended to the lease before the lease is signed and this assists in identifying the condition of the property before the tenant took on the lease. It is strongly advised that a tenant instructs a Chartered Surveyor to undertake a schedule of condition before the lease is signed. We have assisted tenants throughout Brighton, Hove, West Sussex and East Sussex in reducing the dilapidation claim against them by making use of a previously instructed schedule of condition appended to the lease.
Depending upon the wording of the lease, the Landlord will require the tenant to return the property back in the condition it was in prior to the signing of the lease. We have prepared dilapidation claims for Landlords and worked closely with solicitors to ensure the tenant upholds the repairing covenants to the lease. We have negotiated claims and inspected works to ensure tenants have undertaken all works outlined within the dilapidation claim as well as overseen the works on behalf of the Landlord, where a cash settlement has been reached.
Diminution in Value is a key consideration as this can greatly limit the Landlords claim. A Landlord can only ‘claim’ for works that are required and cannot claim if the property is to be extensively altered or modified. The Landlord’s claim cannot be more than the depreciation in value of the property in a ‘poor’ condition when compared to a ‘good’ condition. This area is extremely complex and often a Chartered Valuer is required to provide expert advice.
We would be pleased to offer advice to any landlord or tenant on any dilapidation claim or query throughout Brighton, Hove, Sussex, London and beyond.
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