Dilapidations are the ongoing liability for tenants that have contractual obligations through leases to maintain and repair buildings that they occupy when in use and to reinstate when they vacate.
Dilapidations are crystallized at the end of lease terms. At this time, landlords require their buildings to be returned to them 'in repair', decorated and reinstated in accordance with the provisions of the leases.
This seems straightforward enough until the detail of the covenants and the condition of each element of construction, fitting and finish is scrutinised. Not surprisingly, some landlords and their surveyors can be overzealous when preparing schedules of dilapidations and similarly, some, if not all tenants and their surveyors, consider that their liability is less than their landlords' assessment.
In order to deal with landlords' assessments and tenants' responses accurately and proportionately, appropriate advice is required by both contractual parties if disputes and significant and often unnecessary expenditure is to be avoided.
If not properly negotiated and managed, comparatively simple dilapidations claims can become protracted and expensive for both contractual parties. There is no simple solution for any case; each property, lease and set of circumstances is unique. Employing specialist advice at the earliest possible opportunity, saves time and therefore expense and should prevent litigation as well.