Tag Archives: Dilapidations Lancashire

Dilapidations Lancashire-Terminal Claim for £100500 managed down to £2400!

Facing a big claim?
Facing a big claim?

A Tenant client of mine rang Jones & Co from his newly acquired position standing on a window ledge facing the prospect of a self- propelled precipice drop.

‘I have received a Terminal Schedule of Dilapidations claim for £100500! We have only occupied the premises for 5 years and now this bombshell…what can we do?’

I duly took instruction  calmed him down and helped the distraught Tenant step back from the window ledge .

I conducted a review of the Claim which included an inspection of the premises and detailed examination of the Lease. The Tenant was indeed bound by fairly standard lease with liabilities to keep the premises in repair, redecorate in the last three months of the lease and not to have made any alterations without consent.

The Tenant had unfortunately not been advised before Lease to have a Surveyor prepare an Ingoing Tenant’s Schedule of Condition . This would have served two purposes : to ascertain condition and for attachment to Lease to limit liabilities to keeping the premises in no better or worse condition. The operative words in the repairing clause ‘to keep’ meant that where the premises were already in disrepair the tenant would assume liability to put into repair. A common and often very expensive mistake.

‘Not fair’ I hear the cry so many times. Well you are a big boy or girl and you are entering into a legal commercial contract so why did you not take the best legal and surveying advice at the outset?

This Tenant fortunately contacted Jones and Co with a couple of months left in the lease and there was just enough time for action. The review of the claim revealed a fair number of item requirements for repair were indeed potential legitimate claims.  I was however in disagreement with a significant number of items which I considered either outside the scope of the lease requirements and were not the Tenant’s liability or were simply overstated. eg Replace rooflights £10000when a clean and reseal would suffice. Replace colour coated metal barge boards £5000 when  a repaint only was necessary. You get the picture.

I prepared a  formal Review of the Claim and identified legitimate liabilities and matters to address. Doubtful items were identified and I suggested these items were worth arguing. I recommended a strategy and response. Acting on the advice the Tenant determined to effect works of repair and decoration and reinstatement to mitigate his own exposure to the potential dilapidations claim.I prepared a Schedule of works I considered he should address . He took control of costs and with professional advice carried out works of repair and redecoration which were considered reasonably required by the Lease and not all those required by the Landlord’s Surveyor. Upon vacation of the premises I prepared a full Photographic Schedule of Condition recording the condition. Always do this as it can save arguements later as it indeed did.

The premises looked pretty smart at lease end and all credit to the outgoing Tenant  a good job had been done and fair amount of money spent but nothing like the amount of the potential claim! There was nothing prejudicial about the vacated condition which might be offputting to a potential new Tenant- which is of course dear to any Landlord’s heart and wallet.

'Left pretty smart upon vacation.'
'Left pretty smart upon vacation.'

Congratulations all round you would think? Effusive thanks from Landlord? No. A revised Claim  for £25400 only.

‘Hell fire or f*** me ‘ as actually uttered by the ex- Tenant! Understanadble.

My client duly contacted me and requested I negotiate settlement which I duly did. The majority of the items still claimed were challenged and argued against.The claim was reduced to £20500 but they would ‘settle for £10000 ‘( getting desperate). I considered £1750 plus VAT equivalent was fair and reasonable ( being majority Landlord’s Surveyors fees for the merry dance we all had enjoyed)

Well suffice it to say the matter was finally settled at around £2400. Result!

WOW (Words of Wisdom)

A small industrial unit- a big dilapidations claim
A small industrial unit- a big dilapidations claim

1. Always take best experienced and informed professional legal and surveyor’s advice before lease

2. Always commission an ingoing tenant’s Schedule of Condition (and do not forget all engineering services.)

3. Always negotiate repair and decorations liabilities. Spell out just exactly what you are prepared to take on and expressly exclude all matters you are not.

4.Keep your house in order and do what you have contracted to do in respect of repair and redecoration.

5.Take control of costs and plan backwards from lease end date and allow sufficient time to put the house in order. Take advice from your Surveyor as to strategy .

6.Always seek advice when you receive  a Repairs Notice or Schedule of Dilapidations. The Landlord’s Surveyor’s requirements may not properly reflect the actual liabilities.

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Dilapidations Lancashire- Landlords and Tenants do not get floored by claims or losses at lease end!

Dilapidations Lancashire,dilapidations expert

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.’

dilapidations lancashire, dilapidations expert

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.

 

Dilapidations Lancashire-Exercise some flexibilty in these trying times…..a hangover could cure your headache

Dilapidations,dilapidations expert

Tenants are well advised ‘to put their house in order’ before lease end or face potential dilapidations claim for breaches of lease covenants to repair redecorate and reinstate. But  what happens if they do not plan backwards and arrive at the end of the lease with little or no time to carry out works? What’s the Landlord to do? What’s the Tenant to do?

Well the Landlord can take back the premises and initiate a dilapidatons claim with all the risks, expenses and delay and uncertainty especially if the Landlord is not intending carrying out the works. The Tenant’s diminution valuation defence looms large : you know the one; OK so the costs of repairs are £25000 but the value of the premises is only reduced by £5000 or nothing!!!

Alternatively with a little flexibility on the part of the Landlord the Tenant might be able to negotiate to hang over on bare licence after lease end to carry out the works and surrender the premises in repair and decorated.

The Landlord gets what he should want ,which after all should be his premises given back in tenantable repair and freshly decorated; the Tenant gets what he wants which should be to take control of costs and minimise his exposure to claim and discharge his lease liabilities.

I would not advocate this as a strategy for Tenants to adopt as it is certainly very risky, but I would certainly as I have recently done, commended Landlords to consider allowing the same.

After all in these trying times why as a Landlord should you run the risks of not recovering the full costs of repairs and decorations if you can accept some modest delay and get the active co-operation of the Tenant in sorting matters out with all the risks as to costs his?

In my locality prospective new Tenants are hardly beating the doors down of commercial agents to sign up for new leases of commercial premises and certainly not those which are visually run down and poorly decorated.

Just a thought…..

WOW ( words of wisdom)

Landlords should not automatically plunge headlong into confrontational dilapidations claim. Think about your objective. Your interests may be best served by flexibilty in encouraging the Tenant to sort matters out even at the cost of free hangover after lease end.

Dilapidations Lancashire- What is dilapidation?

 What’s all this dilapidation about?

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)

Footnote:

di·lap·i·date  (d-lp-dt)

tr. & intr.v. di·lap·i·dat·ed, di·lap·i·dat·ing, di·lap·i·dates 1. 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).]

Dilapidated-the Temple of Apollo Dydima Turkey
Dilapidated-the Temple of Apollo Didym Turkey,but no Tenant to pick up the tab!

Dilapidations Lancashire .Practise safe sex? Well practise safe leasing! (Avoiding dilapidations claim.)

Dilapidations,dilapidations claim,dilapidations schedule

Sexual health self-assessment

Ok ladies and gentlemen take this short test to find out whether your sex life is putting your health at risk. How much do you really know about safe sex practices?

What ?I thought this was about surveying !!!

I apologise for the hook but I have your attention and the analogy is true. 

Lease and wealth self-assessment for the tenant.

Take this short test to find out whether your lease is putting your wealth at risk. How much do you really know about safe leasing  practices?

1.OK you have just lined up a hot sexy date. ( Found some attractive premises to rent)

1. Have you any idea what the risks are and just what nasty STDs you can catch? (Have you any idea what your lease requires you to do in respect of repairs, decorations and reinstatement. )

2. Did anyone explain to you just exactly what you might be exposing yourself to?

3. Ok you are just about to jump into bed ( sign a lease)with a complete stranger the mistress or toyboy( The Landlord).You think this is going to be free of liabilities once the coupling is done( lease term). Are you sure you are not going to catch something nasty and unexpected as a result? A LTD! (Lease Transmitted Disaster)

4.The mistress or toyboy (Landlord) can be very seductive and entice you into that bed with all sorts of charming and alluring behaviour and promises ( rent free period )

5. Bang the deed is done. The lease is signed.( less than 30 seconds)You have had unprotected exposure. ( You have signed to the lease and you are contractually bound by seemingly innocuous clauses in a bewildering legal document). Have you done this?

6.The LTD might not show for years but when it does it was all because you engaged in  fumbled hurried unprotected leasing. Don’t you just feel stupid? (Your wealth is going to be seriously affected.)

OK.  STOP NOW!! Do not become another victim of ignorance. Practise safe leasing and take precautions.

As an expert dilapidations surveyor I have worked for some of  the largest and most successful businesses and commercial property managers in the NorthWest. ( Iotech Group Ltd,  Stax plc,  James Hall & Co Spar Stores).

I have acted for the same and many similar businesses where they are Tenants of commercial properties. Leading NorthWest Solicitor practices regularly refer their clients to me.

I have provided expert defence to end of long lease claims against Tenants of up to £1.3 million ( subsequently agreed in the case 0f the £1.3m claim at £650000.)

I have undertaken  dilapidations surveys on behalf of my clients for the past two decades. I understand exactly where Tenants can be most vulnerable to claims at the end of a lease.

I am by experience both a poacher ( for Tenant) and a game keeper.( for Landlord)

If you have neglected to deal with you repair and decorations liabilities, unfortunately the only defence you have available to you at the end of a lease is to engage an  Dilapidations Expert like me and hope that the landlord is not going to be too agressive . ( Hopefully the Landlord has also engaged an  inexperienced dilapidations  surveyor to act for it if you are lucky)

This is damage limitation only: far better not to have put yourself in that situation in the first place.

OK .What is involved in practising safe leasing?

  1. Employ the best specialist Commercial Property Lawyer you can afford( I mean seriously experienced and not the sadly all to often generalist solicitor regurgitating or cut and pasting old leases-come on guys who really gives credibility to  ‘ye shall whitewash distemper  marble and paint’)
  2. Employ the best specialist Dilapidations Building Surveyor you can afford to carry out a pre-lease inspection of the premises and prepare a comprehensive Ingoing Tenant’s Schedule of Condition.This will be in written photographic ( including elevated birds eye ) and increasingly HD Video format and preferably a combination of all three. ( It is if I carry it out.)
  3. Ask your Dilapidations Surveyor to give you an executive summary and advice as to just what are the major issues as to current repair and decorative liabilities and liabilities to be addressed  at lease end.
  4. Negotiate with the Landlord for the Landlord to correct existing defects or give rent free period monetary equivalent for you to keep ( and to put) and the premises in good tenantable repair. But do not then forget to sort matters out.
  5. Or if the Landlord will nor put hand in pocket to repair ( despite possible healthy cash injection from previous sucker tenant) seek to agree to limit your liabilities to repair and surrender the premises at end of lease in no better or worse condition than an agreed attached Ingoing Tenant’s Schedule of Condition. (And it better be very comprehensive! The landlord can seek to attack you with the ferocity of a rabid pitbull.)
  6. Maintain  repair and decorate during the lease term and certainly well before lease end. It far cheaper for you to commission these works. If you have altered the premises or added to the same without landlord’s consent reinstate the premises. Why give yourself a problem and the Landlord a chance to go for that handy cash injection?
  7. Engage a Dilapidations Surveyor to examine the lease and check over the premises and see where you might be exposed to claims for repairs and decorations and plan backwards from date of the end of the lease and implement a programme of remedial works.

I am an Expert Dilapidations Surveyor with over 25 years experience.  If you need help contact me.

I have recently provided safe leasing precautions by preparing a comprehensive schedule of condition of the whole of a multi-hectare site with significant and complex industrial buildings. ( Multiple written schedules, 8 CDRoms of Photos and 2 hours HD  DVD Video).

No LTDs for that Tenant!!! ( provided of course they reasonably maintain and decorate to prevent deterioration from recorded condition)

WOW (words of wisdom)

Simple isn’t it?

The prescription:  Take sensible precautions and enjoy safe leasing to your heart’s content.