Dilapidations: what to look out for

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As a tenant, your responsibilities under the terms of your lease agreement could be manifold. If you fail to fulfil your obligations in regards to dilapidations agreements, you could very well find yourself in court paying for legal fees and fines on top of the cost of restoring your leased commercial property to its original condition. So, what should you look out for ahead of the end of your lease? What do you need to do to ensure that you’ve fulfilled your obligations as a tenant? Chartered building surveying experts such as ourselves can help to guide you through the dilapidations process.

Accidental damage

All commercial tenants must ensure that their leased buildings are returned to their landlords in an adequate condition at the culmination of their tenancy. That, of course, means repairing any damage that may have occurred as a result of your occupancy. Cracked plaster, damaged door frames, warped floorboards and other forms of external or interior damage will all need to be spotted and repaired before you depart the premises.  Dilapidations surveys will help you determine whether property damage is your responsibility or not dependant on your lease.

Mould / rot / water damage

It’s not only physical damage that will need to be rectified when your commercial lease comes to an end, however. Other factors could fall under the terms of your lease, too, with problems such as damp, mould, dry rot and water damage proving equally destructive to a commercial property. Your washroom and shower facilities may have deteriorated over time, while mould and rot can often accumulate in the corners of office rooms. If these problems are allowed to persist then they can make buildings unsafe, and it’s up to you to clear them up before your lease comes to an end. Otherwise, you may have failed to comply with the dilapidations clause in your lease agreement.

Renovations / modifications

It’s not uncommon for commercial tenants to modify or renovate their leased properties over time, but depending on the terms of your lease agreement, you may be obliged to restore such changes to their original condition when you leave. Even if you feel that your renovations have improved the property your landlord may not agree, and will require their property be restored once more before your lease ends. If you’ve added or knocked through dividing walls, added extensions or converted rooms, you’ll have to undo these changes at your own expense at the end of your lease.

Redecoration / maintenance

Over time, every building will begin to show signs of wear and tear, and your leased commercial property will be no exception. Most commercial tenants will be required to ensure that they keep their leased premises well maintained during their tenancy, and some will even be obliged to redecorate the building when they move out. Faded or marked paint, walls holed or damaged from picture hooks or other fixtures and broken or damaged utilities will all need to be rectified pending your move.

There’s a lot to look out for and a lot to consider when your commercial lease comes to an end, but in order to comply with your lease agreement you’ll need to make sure that nothing escapes your attention. Fortunately, you won’t have to go through the process on your own. Our dilapidations surveys have helped to save tenants on average 50% on their settlements, so be sure to contact us before your lease comes to an end and save yourself a lot of time, money and effort.


DISCLAIMER: This article is for general information only and not intended as advice. Each project has its own set of unique circumstances, all potential issues should be investigated by a surveyor on a case by case basis before making any decision.

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