Commercial property dilapidations refers to the condition that a property is kept in by the tenant. It is very common that one of the conditions of the lease is the property is kept in a good condition both during the leaser, and when it expires. While each agreement will differ, there should be detail included that states what kind of repair and decoration can be reasonably expected.
The easiest way to avoid commercial property dilapidations disputes is to return the building back to the condition it was when the lease began. This could include:
- Removing any fittings that you have had installed during the lease – even if you see them as an improvement.
- Damage fully repaired. If you have caused any damage to the property at all, you are likely to be liable to get it fully repaired.
- General maintenance carried out throughout the lease, including clearing the gutters, maintaining any outside space, ensuring that any flat roof is maintained sufficiently.
- Decorating. Your lease may specify how often you are expected to decorate the property, for example, “paint every 4 years”.
Unfortunately, disputes are fairly common when it comes to commercial property dilapidations, and it can quickly become a costly and time-consuming endeavour for both landlords and tenants. There are a few things that both sides can do before it comes to that though.
No landlord wants the hassle of a dilapidation dispute, so take the following steps to minimise the risk to your property:
- Clearly define the obligations to the tenant: When you draw up the lease, make sure you clearly state your expectations to them in no uncertain terms. Include redecoration, repair and reinstatement obligations, and be sure to highlight these to them. Having it written down is absolutely crucial in preventing and settling disputes.
- Take photographs on the day before it is occupied: Photographic evidence is always useful. Make sure that the tenant has a copy of them, and if possible make sure they are date-stamped in some way in case of a dispute.
- Ensure the property is in the best condition possible when a lease begins: Having the highest standard possible to work towards is the best way to ensure that the lines aren’t blurred. If a tenant knows that they moved into a spotless property, they know exactly how it needs to be when they leave. If it is less than perfect, people can be unsure of where they stand and disputes can arise. A professional cleaning company might be the most cost-effective way of doing this.
- Communicate regularly throughout the lease: check in with your tenants to see whether any repairs are required. You may have contractors that can help them if they do need it. When a lease is nearing its end, check in again and see if there is anything that needs attention.
A dilapidation dispute can quickly become a very expensive problem for a tenant, but it is one that is easy to avoid if you follow the following steps:
- Understand your lease: Before you sign anything, make sure that you understand what your responsibilities are when it comes to repairs and decoration. If they are not clearly stated in the lease, ask for them to be clarified.
- Record the state of the property before you move in: Take photos and start a Schedule of Condition to clearly state what the property looked like, and how it functioned, when you moved in. This is likely to be the state that you will need to replicate when you leave.
- If something breaks, fix it: It is probably a good idea to keep in touch with your landlord if you require anything to be repaired – not only does it keep them relaxed about what is happening, but they may be able to help you find someone to carry out the repairs.
- Ask permission: If you require any work to be done to the property, ask your landlord for permission, and make sure you get it in writing with a detailed description of the work that is to be done. This will avoid any confusion at the end of the lease.
- Budget for repairs and maintenance: This is often overlooked by tenants, but it is important to set aside money for this, rather than have to worry every time something needs to be done.
- Leave it how you found it: The golden rule when leasing a property is to leave it in the same state that you found it. Use the documents and photographs that you created when you moved in.
Whether you are a landlord or a tenant a professional cleaning company could save you an awful lot of money.
For landlords – ensuring that your property with a deep clean. is in its best possible condition could not only attract more interest but could also create a clear and exact state for the property to be left in at the end of the lease. This means that there is very little confusion when it comes to commercial property dilapidation.
For tenants, using a professional cleaning company before the end of your lease can save an awful lot of time, hassle and money.
Don’t leave it to chance. Get in touch with Ideal Response today and see how we can help.