Can your Landlord make you pay money for any Damages?
Posted on 19th February 2020
A tenant is usually obliged to put the property in good repair even if it is not in good repair before taking possession. Often Tenants feel that the requirement to provide outlays for a new carpet, kitchen or bathroom at the end of their Lease is unfair requirement considering that they took on significant disrepair and damage when they took on the Lease. Unfortunately, the Dilapidations Clause means that where there are items in disrepair these are covered under the tenant’s duty to maintain and repair the property.
The lease is likely to impose a standard of maintenance and repair during the term of the tenancy, and at expiry of the term. In some instance the Lease may call for a fresh lick of paint or merely for any of your advertising to be removed from the site in other cases the requirements may be much more onerous such as a new shop fit. If the property is not maintained in accordance with the obligations, the landlord may be entitled to exercise its rights under the lease and formally commence the procedure for works to be carried out by the tenant in compliance with the leasehold obligations.
At the end of the lease, the tenant is required to hand the property back to the landlord in the condition set out under the terms of the lease. If the tenant does not do so, the landlord may be entitled to serve a notice to reinstate on the tenant. If the landlord were to serve such notice, the landlord should also send to the tenant a Schedule of Dilapidations, prepared by a specialist surveyor, identifying the breaches, remedial work required, and providing costings.
It the tenant decides not to remedy the breaches that are set out within the reinstatement notice then the landlord could decide to take enforcement action or claim for a court order which requires the tenant to carry out the works or if the tenant is still in the property then the landlord may be able to obtain a Court Order which allows the landlord to enter the property, carry out the works and claim the cost back from the tenant.
Dilapidation issues can be a cause of real financial difficulty and is a complex area of law. It is therefore essential to remember that when you enter in to a commercial lease that you seek advice from both a Solicitor and a Surveyor, be aware of and comply with your duties under the lease and if you do receive a dilapidation notice ensure that you take the same to both a Property Solicitor and a Surveyor immediately.
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