When landlords lease to tenants, it is imperative that their properties and assets are protected. Consequently, most leases contain certain obligations for the tenant to clean, decorate, repair and maintain the property, and for them not to alter the property without consent.
Tenants should be aware of all of these issues and of their significance before taking a lease. Unfortunately, tenants often only take these issues seriously when their landlord sends them a long list of defects to be remedied at the tenant’s expense, known as a Schedule of Dilapidation. This usually means that there is a requirement to pay various and sometimes quite substantial sums of money.
In order to prevent this unpleasant outcome, it is recommended that the incoming tenant produce a Schedule of Condition with photographs which show the current state of the property at the start of the lease. The schedule is attached to and forms part of the lease agreements. The tenant is not required to return the leased property in any better condition than that shown on the Schedule of Condition, but it must also not be any worse.
Schedule of Dilapidations
Towards the end of the lease term, the landlord will ascertain whether or not the tenant has maintained the property in the condition set out in the lease, by checking if there has been any decline in the state of the property during the lease term. The terms of the lease will usually stipulate that the tenant is responsible for the landlord’s surveyor’s fee for producing a Schedule of Dilapidations as well as any ancillary legal fees.
As a general rule, a tenant should instruct their own specialist dilapidation surveyor once they receive a Schedule of Dilapidation with a legal notice. Once appointed, the tenant’s surveyor will carry out an inspection to verify the Schedule of Condition, deciding whether the Schedule is accurate and whether the standard of repair required by the Schedule is justified. The tenant’s surveyor will then get in contact with the landlord’s surveyor to negotiate the contents of the Schedule of Dilapidations.
More on the Schedule of Condition…
At the end of a tenancy agreement, there will very often be a dispute between landlord and tenant as the tenants accountability for any repairs or losses arises and is argued. There is a way to overcome these situations or at least handle them so that minimal losses are incurred, and this is done by having a Schedule of Condition in place at the beginning of the tenancy agreement.
When a Schedule of Condition is carried out, a 3rd party advisor records the state of the premises and ensures that certain points are noted in the initial Terms of the Lease. It may also be necessary to involve a solicitor at this stage as the Repair Clause in the lease will need to be discussed and these vary between agreements.
When the tenants lease is up or they decide to vacate the building, the record of condition can be referred to, this then avoids any dispute that may arise when questioning the condition of the building. For the tenant, a Schedule of Condition can mean the difference between a hassle free, low cost end of tenancy and a law suit, not to mention additional fees incurred for lawyers and surveyors.
The Schedule of Condition is not solely for the benefit of the tenant, it also allows the landlord to ensure that any work that is meant to be carried out under the Repair Clause is adhered to so that they can find new tenants as soon as possible.
At the end of a tenancy agreement, very often a Dilapidations Report will be carried out by either the landlord or the tenant in order to evaluate the buildings condition when compared to the Repair Clause. It will show the repairs needed and necessary costs that will be endured.
The surveyors at Dilapidations Solutions have experienced many different scenarios when it comes to dilapidation claims. We understand that every case is unique and require professional third party advice to ensure that both sides of the tenancy agreement is being adhered to. Before finalising the End of Tenancy with your landlord, it is best to speak to one of our experienced surveyors as more often than not we will be able to save you money.