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Legal advice on dilapidations for landlords and tenants

Commercial property litigation necessitating legal advice from the business solicitors at George Ide LLP often revolves around disputes between landlords and tenants over the conditions in a lease, including dilapidations.

When a lease for letting business premises, such as a shop, office, café or warehouse, is drawn up for the first time or extended, it is important that all the financial and practical implications of the agreement are understood by both the lessor and lessee.

The majority of commercial leases are written as full repairing and insuring (FRI), meaning that the business proprietor agrees to pay for insurance on the building and take on responsibility for all repairs, both internal and external, during the term of the tenancy so that it will be in as good a condition at the end of the leasing period as it was at the start.

At the start of the lease term the ingoing tenant will acknowledge the condition of the building within a Schedule of Condition.

The term “dilapidations” is used to describe the decline in condition of a building during the term of the lease.

At the end of a lease, if justified, a landlord is entitled to serve a formal Notice of Dilapidations on a tenant to seek recovery for the presumed loss in the property’s value because the repairs had not been completed.

In the same way that an inventory of contents protects the interests of a landlord and tenant of a residential property, a Schedule of Condition, prepared by a chartered surveyor, can provide an independent assessment of the state of commercial premises at the start of a lease or when a new tenant takes over the assignment of a lease mid-term.

Similarly, at the end of the term, a surveyor can be instructed to draw up a Schedule of Condition for comparative purposes if there is conflict about whether there has been a breach of covenant regarding the maintenance of the property.

The cost of a dilapidations legal action to both a landlord and tenant can be considerable and it is far better for both sides to avoid the situation by taking legal advice from the outset.

George Ide’s business services department has many years of experience in acting as advisors and representatives of property owners and business proprietors in the Chichester and Bognor Regis area and throughout Hampshire and West Sussex.

Their commercial property litigation solicitors have links to other professionals, including surveyors, who can assist in bringing potentially difficult dilapidations dispute situations to a swift and equitable conclusion.

In the first instance, for dependable advice, in confidence, you can call our North Street office or click through for details of one of the solicitors on this page.