Dilapidations Disputes

The terms of the lease are the starting point when dealing with dilapidation matters. The lease should stipulate the condition that the property needs to be kept in and the obligations of the landlord and tenant.

Dilapidation Disputes Procedure

  • The Property Litigation Association has an established Pre-Action Protocol, which emphasises communication and negotiation to avoid court action. The landlord has to serve a schedule of dilapidations on the tenant, which includes the projected sum of damages.
  • If you are a tenant, it will be relevant to your case whether the landlord intends actually to carry out the work. If this is not the case, the damages awarded may be reduced.
  • The measure of damages in court is the cost of repairing the property to put it in the condition stipulated in the lease. This applies only to a repairing covenant, not to decorating or positive covenants at the end of the lease. Depending on what the lease says this means the amount of damages can vary greatly.
  • The landlord can claim for lost rent during the time that repairs are being carried out.
  • The tenant will respond to this schedule, and the parties will attempt to reach a settlement. Alternative dispute resolution services are available. If all of the pre-action methods are unsuccessful, parties can take unresolved disputes to court.

How We Can Help

  • We can assist in interpreting the terms of the lease to determine exactly what your obligations are. This can be done when the lease begins to avoid disputes in the future and so that you can take actions during the course of the lease to meet your obligations. 
  • During the lease, we can advise you about checking on your tenants and the expected level of repair and condition of the building. Repairs can, of course, be carried out after the lease has ended, but reminding the tenants during the lease of their obligations may avoid a dispute later. While you as a landlord can claim for lost rent during repairs, it is advisable to incur as few losses as possible and show the court you did everything possible to ensure the tenants met their repair obligations during their lease.
  • We can help you put together a schedule of the anticipated costs of repair which will guide the court in calculating damages.
  • If a dispute has arisen during the lease, or you discover damage after the lease has ended, we can act for you and guide you through the dispute process.
  • If you are a tenant being faced with a claim for damages for dilapidations, we can act for you in ensuring you are treated fairly in this process.

To discuss the legalities surrounding dilapidation disputes further, please call us on 020 8290 0333 to speak to one of our solicitors.