Dilapidations is a term used to refer to damages or defects to a property which a tenant is legally obligated to rectify under their lease. A landlord can make a dilapidation claim either during or after the lease comes to an end. The claim sets out the repairs needed to be done, then either the tenant does the repairs themselves, or the landlord carries out the repairs and then charges the tenant.
Because of the potentially large costs associated with dilapidation claims, its important to consider them from the very beginning.
Don’t rush into your lease
Before you enter into your lease be sure that you are fully aware of all of your obligations. Read through the lease carefully and consult with your potential landlord if you do not understand. Also, it is important to remember that everything in the lease is negotiable.
It may also be a good idea to inspect the property before you enter into the lease. Make sure the description of the property matches what you see, and make sure the property is in good condition. Look out for any red flags of disrepair to the property.
Get a schedule of condition
The schedule of condition is a description of the property supported by photos and prepared by the surveyor. It will cost to get a report from the surveyor, and some issues e.g. structure will not be in the report. However, the schedule is vital to showing the state of the property when the tenancy agreement began.
Understand the lease
Don’t just understand the lease but make sure you know your obligations inside and out. Look out for time frames, for example the lease may specify the interior walls are to be decorated every 3 years. If you then miss this 3-year marker, you are in breach of the lease.
Carrying out work
Make sure your lease allows the work you are carrying out. If it does not you may be liable for restoring the property back to the condition it was in before you started.
Receiving a dilapidation claim
If you do receive a dilapidation claim you need to act sooner rather than later. Instruct a surveyor with expertise in dilapidations to help you comply with the claim for the least cost possible.