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Date posted: 24/09/2013

Kevin Marling on Schedule of Condition Reports and dilapidation surveys for local commercial properties

Usually under the terms of a property lease between a tenant and landlord there is a legal responsibility to guarantee that the property is maintained during the term in compliance with the covenants contained within the schedule.

As Chartered Building Surveyors we can carry out a survey known as the schedule of condition (to assist the tenant) outlining the condition of the building before the lease contract commences.

The aim of the schedule is to determine the condition of various elements of the premises which can then be referred to when the lease terminates, which will seriously affect/limit the tenant’s obligations for repair.

The proviso is ‘that the premises are to be kept in no better condition than evidenced by such a Schedule’. It includes the effects of, and the tenant’s obligations during the lease’s term.  It can also enable tenants to plan future works and expenditure during their lease and estimate the potential cost of terminating it. 

We advise that you seek the advice of a chartered building surveyor when considering entering into a lease agreement. The surveyor can advise on the condition, as well as the covenants of the lease which may be over onerous, with strict obligations and express terms that can be deemed unfair by the tenant.

Very often we receive calls from local business owners who have received a terminal schedule that they didn’t expect or plan for at the end of their term.  During a stressful time of moving to new premises, and when costs are already running high, receiving a high dilapidations claim can be difficult to comprehend.
Terminal Claims for dilapidations have caused much heart-ache with stress to both tenants and landlords alike. 

It is not uncommon for a landlord to serve an unexpected schedule of dilapidations to a tenant via their solicitor. Don’t panic though if you are nearing the end of your term, as we act for both Landlord & tenant and can help with negotiations.

Recently a client of ours received a claim for dilapidations in the region of £80,000.  After negotiations with the landlord and his surveyor, this was reduced by 50% to £40,000.  Claims can vary from a few thousand pounds to hundreds of thousands of pounds depending on the size and condition of the building. For peace of mind, we provide practical common sense advice, in line with the dilapidation protocol to both landlord and tenant with a view to avoiding unfair claims and expensive fees.

We are very grateful to one of our happy clients who provided the following comment on their recent experience.  Paul Simmonds, Managing Director of Contrac IT and Print Management in Beverley says:"Simon Delaney and Kevin Marling offered us some remarkably balanced and sound advice as we transferred from one warehouse unit to another.

“As is probably true with many historical leases, the original condition wasn't well documented and we had to try and establish a sensible pathway for the dilapidation works. It was good to be able to discuss things in a pragmatic way, rather than receiving purely technical advice.

“We will certainly be commissioning a Conditions Report on all future property leases!"

For further information on Delaney Marling Partnership’s Dilapidations services, please click here.  Follow us on Twitter @ DMP_Surveying or call 01482 623955.