Dilapidations represent ‘exit costs’ for a tenant at the end of their property lease. These costs are usually in respect of putting the property back to its original state i.e. before the tenant took the lease.
For tenants, whether the property is commercial or residential, you will need to consider any repairing obligations in your lease. At the end of the lease the landlord will want the property returned to a good state of repair.
Generally (and hopefully) most tenants will return the property and the end of the tenancy in reasonable condition. However, a schedule of dilapidations may be presented to a tenant by a landlord, and it is not uncommon for disputes to arise as a result. It may be that there are genuine elements of damage caused by the tenant which should be paid for. Alternatively, it could be that the landlord has made claims which are inflated, or for damage caused by the landlord. It may include claims where they unreasonably demand that tenants repair minor damage caused by normal use of the property, or the passage of time.
Whether you are a tenant or a landlord, the most important action to take is to seek specialist advice befor the expiry of your lease so as to hopefully avoid unexpected repair costs and expensive court proceedings. If formal litigation becomes the only option, it is vital to take expert advice on how best to navigate the court process to avoid nasty pitfalls and additional cost.
The solicitors at Ironmonger Curtis have advised numerous landlords and tenants on repair obligations. For advice on landlord and tenant disputes and dilapidation claims contact our specialist property litigation solicitors in Sheffield.