The term Dilapidations is normally used to cover
defects or disrepair which you as tenant will be required to deal
with or pay to have remedied when you vacate the premises that you
Before you take a lease a Condition Survey will
establish the condition of the premises, giving an indication of
work that may be needed, both immediately and later. Most commercial
leases require the tenant to put and keep the property in repair
and unless you and the landlord specifically agree otherwise, the
fact that the premises were in a poor condition when you took them
on is irrelevant, you will still have to put them right.
The Condition Survey may help you negotiate a
lower rent to compensate for costs that you face or alternatively,
persuade the landlord to agree that the premises be returned at
the end of the lease in a condition similar to the state in which
you took them. After you have had the premises surveyed, make sure
that the Schedule of Condition is attached to the lease.
At the end of the lease a Dilapidations Survey
will confirm that all maintenance works have been carried out as
outlined within the lease agreement.
In dilapidations, surveyors are most commonly
instructed as advisors. Occasionally, dilapidations claims are taken
to court and surveyors may find that their role as an advisor turns
into that of an Expert Witness or a surveyor may be instructed
as an expert witness from the outset.
Frequently Asked Questions
When do I need to starting
thinking about dilapidations?
Generally speaking, landlords do not serve dilapidations
claims earlier than three years before the end of the lease. If
you, as tenant, have a statutory right to a new lease, the landlord
probably will not serve a dilapidations claim unless or until you
indicate that you are unlikely to renew your lease.
What happens if I have made alterations to the
This depends on the terms of the lease and any
licences that the landlord granted you to make alterations. On granting
consent for alterations the landlord probably required that at the
end of the lease you restore the property to its original state
if requested to do so. Therefore, unless the landlord thinks your
alterations have added value, you will probably be required to reinstate
the property at the end of the lease or pay the cost.
The exception is if neither the lease nor the
licence for alterations gives the landlord the option of requesting
Do I have to accept the
landlords dilapidations claim in full?
No, do not accept it without taking professional
advice. The cost may be inflated or the claim may include items
which are not valid items of disrepair. Also, there is the possibility
that the landlord may not in fact intend to repair the property
and in this situation you would have a good defence against the
What if I cant reach a compromise withe
If you cannot reach agreement, the landlord has
recourse to the court. But this is a slow process and expensive
for both sides. Landlords will generally avoid it if they can. Consult
your solicitor as well as your chartered surveyor if things look
like taking this course - in a court hearing your chartered surveyor
will be able to act as an expert witness on your behalf.