What is a Dilapidation Survey?
A Dilapidation’s Survey is a detailed survey that records the condition of any aspect of the building fabric and its services due to wear and tear including things such staining on floors, walls and ceilings. These Surveys are usually requested prior to letting to new tenants or concluding or terminating a contract.
The Dilapidation Survey will provide a detailed assessment on a room by room basis covering:
A risk assessment is also undertaken which gives a score for the Severity of the and Probability.
1. Firstly this confirms whether maintenance contracts have been carried out in accordance with the contract.
2. The survey can form the basis to renegotiate maintenance contracts when the actual condition of the building fabric and services is established.
3. Confirms the precise condition of a building prior to changes or sub-letting.
As with a standard survey, the dilapidation survey will be undertaken throughout the building ensuring that each room is thoroughly considered. The Surveyor will ensure that he has made entries against, and where applicable taken digital photographs of, each of the following subjects in each room:
|Doors and Frames||Windows||Light Fittings|
|Radiator||Electrics||IT and Communications|
|Wall Fans||Grilles and Diffusers||Plant and equipment|
|Mechanical and Electrical Services|
The report that is created details condition and associated risk assessment of each entry, offering budget costs to ensure the client can prioritise any remedial work that is required.
It is not uncommon for the Surveyor to include rankings for each item requiring remedial action, scoring each entry between 1 and 3 (or not inspected).
Condition 1 – No Repair Required | Condition 2 – Defects need Repair but are not Serious | Condition 3 – Defects are Serious.
Some common questions asked are:
It is usual to undertake the Survey prior to the signing of a lease. The survey will confirm the condition of the property at the time of taking up the lease and offer an indication of any work that may be required either immediately or potentially in the future. It is vital for any tenant to understand when signing the lease that during the term of the lease, regular or planned maintenance will avoid greater expense when the lease is terminated.
In most instances any tenant with a commercial lease is required to ensure that property is kept in good repair, unless they have a specific agreement with their landlord. Indeed, the fact that the property was in a poor condition when the lease was signed is irrelevant; you have to ensure that they are put right at the end of the lease period. The best advice is to negotiate a lower premium to compensate you for the costs that you will face to refurbish the property or to repair at the end.
An alternative is to agree with the landlord that the premises can be returned at the end of the lease in a condition similar to the state in which they were received. In the event that the landlord agrees to this, it is then prudent to get a schedule of condition undertaken by a Building Surveyor and attached to the lease.
It is important to understand that landlords do not generally serve dilapidation claims earlier than three years prior to the completion of the lease. The tenant may have a statutory right to apply for a new lease and it is unlikely in this scenario that a Landlord will serve a dilapidations claim. Once a tenant has indicated a likeliness to not renew, then the Landlord is well within his rights (as determined by the lease) to serve notice of dilapidations.
This scenario is dependent upon the terms of lease and any license (consent) that the Landlord may have granted for the alternations to be undertaken.
By granting consent for alterations the landlord probably required that at the end of the lease the tenant restored the property back to its original state (if requested to do so). If the Landlord feels the alterations have added value then he will no doubt allow these to remain in place. If the landlord feels that the alterations have devalued the property, they will probably require that the property be reinstated at the completion of the lease or pay the associated cost.
The exception is if neither the lease nor the license for alterations gives the landlord the option of requesting reinstatement.
Simply put no. The tenant does not have to accept a Dilapidation without taking professional advice for a Building Surveyor or Solicitor. In some instances the cost may have been inflated or the claim may include items which are not valid. It is also possible that the landlord may intend to demolish the therefore claims for monies to reinstate will not be granted.
If this where to be the case then it is likely that the tenant would have a good defence at law to the claim. If an agreement cannot be reached, the landlord had recourse to the courts but this is a slow and expensive process. Both sides can incur heavy costs and in general the Landlords will avoid this scenario if they can. As mentioned above, consult with a solicitor as well as your building surveyor. In a court hearing your building surveyor will be able to act as an expert witness on your behalf.