Ever heard of dilapidations? It’s a word that actually has a legal etymology. In current usage the word “dilapidated” refers to something, usually a building that has fallen into a visible state of disrepair: that word actually stems from an ancient legal term first used to refer to church building that had been improperly looked after by their charges. Charges who had failed to maintain a religious building properly were liable under English law (as it then was) to make reparations to the bishopric under a charge of dilapidation – which, in effect, refers to the failure of a tenant to reasonably or responsibly maintain a building they have leased from another owner. In modern legal usage, dilapidations apply mostly to leased business properties – including property to rent London, where charges of dilapidation can be brought by a landlord or landlady who feels that their building has been insufficiently well stewarded by their tenants.
The problem with charges of dilapidation, from a tenant’s point of view, is that they can be hard to refute without the proper documentary evidence that they have taken every reasonable step to maintain the building in question. Such documentation would often be evidence, for example, that a cleaning company has been always and regularly employed in keeping the building tidy. It would also be invoices, receipts and so on for any maintenance work carried out on the building by a third party. Really any company working out of property to rent London should keep this evidence as a matter of course – not only for financial record purposes but as future evidence against dilapidations claims made by the landlord or landlady.
These disputes tend only to arise where commercial property is concerned – because it’s only really in the leases of commercial properties that we see the onus of upkeep fall on the tenant. In domestic situations, the landlord or landlady is almost always liable for any repairs and maintenance due on the building – the only responsibility of the tenant is to keep the place clean. Commercial property to rent London, though, often comes with clauses in the lease that require the tenant to be responsible for all building maintenance as well as its cleanliness. When entering into a lease it’s advisable to have a property consultant (like London’s famous Lorenz Consultancy) take a look at the proposed lease and advise on its contents to minimise the risk of unfair dilapidations claims.
A basic paper trail is always going to help, should a dilapidation claim arise: so, as noted, keep a hold of all evidence that the building in question is professionally cleaned and maintained regularly. Also, commission a legally binding survey (which, these days, will include photographs and reports from a disinterested third party) detailing a full description of the building’s condition at time of first occupancy. That way one can be sure one’s property to rent London is documented in a fashion that can be referred to at the onset of a claim of dilapidations .
If in doubt, get in touch with the experts. People like the Lorenz Consultancy are ideally placed to advise a company on anything to do with dilapidation. Getting them in to do a check and give advice could mean the claim never happens.