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Received a Schedule of Dilapidations?

Posted 01 Oct 2021   By Easton Bevins

If you’re a tenant and you’ve recently been sent a Schedule of Dilapidations from your landlord, you may be wondering what to do next. Before you get started, here is some essential information to help you negotiate with your landlord and agree a solution.

If you’ve received a schedule of dilapidations and haven’t obtained professional advice, it’s crucial that you do so to make sure that the settlement is fair, and that the process is dealt with in the required way.

What are Dilapidations?

Dilapidations are simply claims for damages that your landlord can put forward, if you haven’t left the building the way it should have been under the terms of your lease. These can be fairly varied, but the majority of claims fall into the categories of:

Repair – this can be any general disrepair to the property, or be linked to the condition of the property when your lease began.

Reinstatement – any alterations that you made to the property without permission, and the work required to remove them.

Redecoration – any obligations you have under the lease to redecorate the property when you hand it back.

Dilapidations negotiations can become very complex, however it is important to remember that, ultimately, they are claims for damages for any loss the landlord has suffered because of the condition of the property. If the landlord has to pay for works themselves that should have been undertaken by you, then they may have a valid claim.

How should I respond to the Schedule of Dilapidations?

Firstly, we strongly recommend that you appoint a surveyor to act for you. Whether you appoint us, or another experienced Dilapidations surveyor, your surveyor will have the knowledge and experience to understand what you are liable to pay, how responses should be formed, and how to ensure that negotiations progress smoothly. It is essential that the landlord and the tenant are both represented by an experienced professional to prevent issues from arising.

Your Dilapidations surveyor will review the Schedule of Dilapidations, along with your lease. They’ll then make their own assessment of your liability. They will also review any costs involved and provide this assessment to the landlord’s surveyor as a formal response to the claim. Following this, negotiations will be progressed on your behalf until a final recommended figure is agreed. You’ll then have the final say on whether to agree to the figure.

What am I liable to pay for?

This will completely depend on several factors, including:

The demise – what you’ve been given responsibility and use of, which can include the structure, external areas and any building services including heating and air conditioning.

The length of your lease – this can affect what’s considered ‘reasonable’ to claim for.

Your own alterations – what you’ve altered, whether they can be removed easily and whether you had permission.

 

How long does the Dilapidations process take?

Both you and the landlord are required to communicate well, and try to settle a dilapidations claim in a smooth and swift manner. Unfortunately, however, it’s not uncommon for dilapidations negotiations to take weeks, months or even years to settle. To avoid a lengthy process, the following steps should be taken:

Seek professional advice – your surveyor will know the timeframes that both sides are expected to follow, and can chase matters on your behalf.

Provide information as early as possible – the faster that information is exchanged between both sides, the less chance there is of any confusion or delay.

Be clear on your intentions – this includes when you plan to leave, any repairs you intend to make or any alterations that you intend to remove. This will allow the landlord to plan for your vacation of the unit, and calculate any costs involved. 

I’ve received a Schedule of Dilapidations mid-way through my lease – what does this mean?

This is known as Interim Dilapidations. The processes and reasons for these claims are different; please see our article Interim Dilapidations: what you should know as a tenant for further information.

Our highly experienced team at Easton Bevins would be happy to provide you with further advice or have a conversation about how we can assist you with any Dilapidations matters. To find out more call 0117 942 7876 or email your enquiry and a member of our team will get back to you. 

 

 

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