What are dilapidations?
Dilapidations refer to the expenses that tenants face when their lease ends in order to restore a property to its original condition. These expenses can include repairs and reversing any changes made during the tenancy. It is common for landlords to provide tenants with a list of dilapidations, which can often come as a surprise, and disagreements, over these costs are not uncommon.
Implications at the end of the lease
After the lease has ended the focus shifts towards covering the costs of rectifying any damages and compensating for any lost rent during the repair period. Landlords must provide justification for their claims. If the cost of repairs is deemed excessive compared to damages a court will assess how much value has been reduced due to those damages. The Landlord & Tenant Act 1927 Section 18 (1) sets limits on compensation based on this devaluation. However, landlords can still claim for lost rent if they can prove that needed repairs prevented them from re-letting the property. This claim can be invalidated if it can be shown that there was no potential for re-letting. Often leases contain clauses that allow landlords to recover lost rent or related fees such, as surveyor and legal fees as debts.
Determining Dilapidation Costs
Landlords typically send dilapidation claims drafted by certified building surveyors that detail each breach and its associated cost of rectification. These costs, including rent losses and other financial impacts, determine the damage claim.
A certified property appraiser assesses how breaches impact the market value of a property. This involves comparing the property's value with its value, in its state of disrepair. Such an appraisal helps determine the actions of buyers. Given the disputes over repair expenses, it is crucial for tenants to have evidence such as surveyor reports or photos that detail the condition of the property upon vacating.
The Process of Making Dilapidation Claims
A meticulous process is essential for a dilapidation claim.
Pre-Action Protocol; There is a guideline called "Claims to Damages in Relation to the Physical State of Commercial Property at Termination of a Tenancy" that outlines the expected procedure before any action. It is crucial to follow this guideline to avoid penalties.
Schedule of Dilapidations; The initiation involves landlords sending tenants a document called Schedule of Dilapidations, which provides details, about breaches, required fixes, and associated costs. It should be sent electronically within a time after tenancy termination, electronically.
A Quantified Demand; Alongside the Schedule landlords must send a Demand that specifies all aspects of the claim particularly related to implications. It covers not repair costs. Also represents the total loss experienced by the landlord.
Tenants' Response; Upon receiving these documents tenants should respond within a timeframe clearly stating their position. It is advisable to schedule a meeting within 28 days of receiving a response to address and resolve as many disputes, as possible.
Before resorting to action both parties should consider whether Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods are appropriate. Litigation should be seen as a resort with an examination of adherence, to the Protocol before any cost allocations are made.
In the event that the measures outlined in the Protocol do not effectively resolve the issues, legal proceedings will begin.
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