Leases of commercial property will often contain clauses concerning dilapidations. These essentially provide that any disrepair, damage, or other defects to the property must be rectified by the tenant.

This makes dilapidations a very common area of dispute between landlords and commercial tenants.

As a landlord you will want your property to be kept in good condition and, when a business comes to renew its tenancy, or when the lease ends, for anything which impairs the property’s condition to be put right.

As a commercial tenant, it is important to be aware of dilapidations’ provisions in the lease and to understand the rights and obligations they confer.

Luscombe Gray can help landlords and commercial tenants navigate this tricky area of law. Our core ideal is to provide ethical and effective legal services to clients facing commercial property issues.

Your business is at the heart of our approach, and if conciliatory means, such as mediation and early negotiation, are in your best interests we will say so.

If you would like to discuss how Luscombe Gray can help your business, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Claiming for dilapidations as a landlord

A commercial lease will set out a tenant’s obligations in relation to the condition of the property during the term and at expiry. If a tenant fails to comply then a landlord generally has the right to claim for the costs of any works required to remedy the tenant’s breaches, known as dilapidations. The landlord’s right is subject to certain limitations. If you think you have potential grounds to claim dilapidations, you should seek expert advice from a specialist commercial property litigation solicitor to help you.

If your lease includes a dilapidations clause, it is often advisable to attach a Schedule of Condition to the lease. This should accurately record the condition of property at start of tenancy so that it may be used as a baseline of comparison,
demonstrating the extent of disrepair or damage caused by the tenant during the tenancy.

Facing a dilapidations claim as a tenant

A dilapidations claim can often come as a shock to tenants who were not aware of the clause in the lease. To compound the issue, claims may often be for a significant amount of money, even as much as 12 to 18 months worth of rent.

Additionally, if you have made changes to the property without your landlord’s consent, a claim for dilapidations against you could include the costs of restoring the property to its original condition.

If your commercial lease is ending soon, it is worth seeking specialist advice from a commercial property litigation solicitor about the possibility of facing a dilapidations claim. This prior warning can help you prepare if a large lump sum payment may be required.

Upon receiving a claim, one option is to arrange for a surveyor with experience in dilapidations to visit the property. They can assess how reasonable the landlord’s claim is in relation to the actual state of the property, giving you an evidential basis to potentially contest the claim.

The complex nature of dilapidation disputes

This is a very complicated area of law, involving interpretation of the lease terms and application of the relevant legislation, particularly s.18 Landlord and Tenant Act 1927. Additionally, when managing a dispute over dilapidations, the Dilapidations
Protocol will be a consideration. This is a framework intended to help landlords and tenants resolve their dilapidations disputes in a timely and cost-effective way.

Luscombe Gray can call upon extensive experience and legal knowledge to guide you through a dilapidations dispute.

Instructing Luscombe Gray

Luscombe Gray is a boutique commercial property litigation firm, providing a legal service tailored to the needs of our clients.

We believe first-class commercial legal support should be available to all organisations. Whatever the size of your business, we are more than willing to provide our services and put our specialist skill and knowledge at your disposal.

Your case will be handled by Chris Luscombe personally, so you can be certain that your business will be able to call upon the expertise of an experienced commercial property litigation solicitor. Throughout his career, Chris has helped a wide range of businesses with their commercial property disputes, from small businesses, to national pub companies, to multi-national telecoms giants.

Luscombe Gray is based in the heart of Yorkshire, in Harrogate, with the reach to assist clients across the country.

If your business needs legal support for a dispute over dilapidations, contact Luscombe Gray for clear, ethical, expert advice.

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