Tenants often sign up to leases of premises and never have any contact from their landlords except to receive rent and insurance demands or participate in rent reviews.
How many Landlords conduct periodic inspections during the Lease to make sure their Tenants are complying with their obligations to repair and decorate.
Properly drafted leases usually oblige the Tenant to keep the premises in repair and to decorate periodically. So why let the Tenant get in arrears in respect of repairs and decorations.
Redecoration particulary externally is preventative maintenance and stops corrosion or wet rot decay developing to the point where replacements are necessary.
Electrical installations should be periodically inspected , tested and certified.( Usually every 5 years in the case of older installations). Gas installations should be annually inspected and tested and certified. How many Landlords ask to see these during the currency of the lease?
No usually what happens is the condition of the premises is not on the Landlord’s agenda until lease end. Then a Surveyor is sent in and lo and behold the premises have years of backlog maintenance and repairs outstanding. Decorations have been neglected for years .The cumulative costs of these arrears can be eye watering to a Tenant. In times of economic downturn the solvency of the Tenant can be questionable.
Landlords check your leases and more than likely there will be provision for the Landlord to gain access for periodic inspections to review the state of repair and decoration of the premises. If the Tenant is in default of obligations serve an interim repairs and decorations notice requiring the Tenant to take corrective action.
Try to ensure the final inspection is about 12 months before lease end so a Notice can be served and the Tenant has adequate time to sort matters out. The Landlord’s requirements for any reinstatement matters can be spelt out to the Tenant who then cannot rely on defence of insufficient notice.
The need for weighty dilapidations claim ( and ensuing dispute) will be much reduced. The risks of the Tenant going belly up and leaving the Landlord to pick up the tab is limited to a maximum of 12 months neglect
So to recap Landlords protect your position by:
- Periodic check inspections of the premises during the currency of the lease
- Use Repair and Decorations Notices to make sure the Tenant does not store up arrears
- Arrange for last periodic inspection to coincide with last 12 months of the lease term
- Arrange for terminal schedule of dilapidations to be served on the Tenant in last 3 months of the lease term.
This should protect your position.
A bespoke drafted lease at the outset is helpful and I shall discuss this in some future post.
WOW ( words of wisdom):
Never let out so much of the rope you are holding as you are prepared to lose.