I come across from time to time poor and impoverished Schedules of Condition prepared on behalf of ingoing Tenants comprising pretty basic and limited written schedules and photographs.-an attempt to limit the Tenant’s liabilities to a condition no better or worse than recorded at the time of Lease was the probable brief. Gosh these must have been prepared years ago before digital camera technology I hear you say. Often yes , but I have had to try to defend terminal dilapidations claims on basis of schedules prepared as little as 5 years ago meeting this description. It is hard work as it seems the object of dispute is always just outside the field of view of the photograph. Sod’s law. I can interpolate a lot from overall state of repair and decoration shown on a series of photographs but there is nothing better than a comprehensive visual record which leaves no room for arguements between Surveyors often many years down the line. Digital photography technology allows us now to take hundreds of photographs and store them on SD cards or similar cards the size of a postage stamp or DVD disc . ( CDs very rarely these days have enough space to store sufficient high-resolution photos).
Even hundreds of photographs might not be enough. To address this issue we have adopted and use the best of technology to now prepare definitive Schedules of Condition comprising comprehensive written descriptions of defects, cross referenced high resolution photos ( minimum 9MP) and High Definition Video (AVCHD) . A HD video is priceless for recording complex defects and conveying the condition. Run on your common place HD TV on say a 42″ screen the HD video reveals all. I started last year when faced with prospect of recording condition of 4.5 acre industrial site of complex buildings of many varied types. It worked and I provided multiple DVDs ( about 2.5 hours of video )to compliment digital photos and written schedules. No arguements in 10 years time at lease end.Period. Sony or other commonly available Blue-Ray players or even Sony ps3 play the discs beautifully.
I have now adopted the procedure for more modest commissions. Why accept anything less? OK it costs extra in time and effort and cost but the definitive record is priceless to resist overstated dilapidations claims at lease end. My aim is to make it as far as impossible to pursue a legitimate claim for disrepair where limitation as to condition at time of lease is of essence.No system or approach is perfect but my clients will always be assured I shall continue to strive to perfect my method using the best of technology available.
They may not know it for 5 or 10 years but they will reap the benefit .
WOW (Words of wisdom)
Limit your liabilities by definitive ingoing Tenant’s schedule of condition.
‘Not just a good surveyor, but meticulous in detail, and energetic in prompting dilatory advisors on the ‘other side’ into activity. Also, excellent in the finishing details. Well worthy of praise and recommendation.
A constant source of arguement between Landlord and Tenant (and their Surveyors )at lease end is about carpets and other floor coverings. Do they fall under the Repairing covenant? Are they loose or fixed . Are they glue fixed or on gripper rods? Who put them in?
When is a carpet in repair any way? If you walk across a carpet lots of times it will inevitably wear. Put desks and furnitute on top of carpet and it will indent. Sunlight streaming in through windows will cause fading. Spill coffee tea ink toner etc and it will become soiled. Walk in with dirty shoes and you will get grimy footpath trails associated with personnel traffic through the premises.
Ok so the tenant tries cleaning the carpets. They may be cleaner but what about the fade patches and uneven wear associated with wheely chairs and foot tapping staff at desk positions?
At the outset of the lease consider the issue of floor coverings and set down precisely how carpets and floor coverings are to be dealt with at lease end.
Landlords if you want all floor coverings renewed at lease end expressely say so at the outset and record in the lease. Specify the type and quality.Do not hope the repairing covenant will cover. Why should you provide new coverings and let someone abuse them- the floor coverings are a diminishing assest anyway. Fact- they will soil and wear and fade. Period.
Tenants if you do not want to renew floor coverings at the lease end or pay for them expressely say so at the outset and record in the lease. Do not take premises with pre-existing shag (ged) carpets and floor finishes and sign up to repair covenant to keep in repair because you can not keep in repair a worn or faded carpet or sheet vinyl floor.. You will inevitably face claim for new floor coverings.
Both parties to the lease should carefully determine at the outset their respective positions and expectations about future liabilities for floor coverings and expressely agree and record how they will be dealt with at lease end – include a specific paragraph in the lease. -something like ‘the Tenant will at before lease end renew all carpets and vinyl floor coverings or pay to the landlord the costs of the same at lease end.’ or ‘the tenant will have all carpets and other floor coverings cleaned in last 3 months before lease end or pay to the landlord the costs of the same at lease end but will be under no obligation to replace any floor coverings.’
WOW ( words of wisdom)
Landlords and Tenants should determine how floor finishes will be dealt with at lease end and agree liabilities and expressely set out in lease.
Leave nothing to interpretation in years down the line. Save ££££££ in claims or losses.
Dilapidation is a term meaning in general a falling into decay, but more particularly used in the plural ( dilapidations)in English Law for:
the disrepair for which a tenant is usually liable when he has agreed to give up the landlord’s premises in good repair.
For the next pub quiz:
Dilapidation is derived from the Latin for scattering the stones (Lapis) of a building.
WOW (words of wisdom)
Avoid being on the receiving end of dilapidations claim. Understand your lease liabilities, take control ,repair and redecorate and be prepared to remove and make good any alterations you have made.( before lease end)
tr. & intr.v.di·lap·i·dat·ed, di·lap·i·dat·ing, di·lap·i·dates1. To bring or fall into a state of partial ruin, decay, or disrepair.
2. Archaic To squander; waste.
[Latin dlapidre, dlapidt-, to demolish, destroy : d-, dis-, apart; see dis- + lapidre, to throw stones (from lapis, lapid-, stone).]