If you’re the landlord of a commercial property, you need to ensure your tenant is legally liable to cover the costs of any damage caused to the property during their tenancy. Any required works for which the tenant is responsible are referred to as dilapidations.
Prior to the lease start date, you should hire a RICS Chartered Surveyor to carry out a dilapidation survey, which details the current condition of the property. At the end of the tenancy, you may want to obtain another dilapidation survey to find out whether your tenant has caused any damage or made alterations which need reinstating.
Similarly, if you’re a tenant that’s been issued with a Schedule of Dilapidations (the document outlining the works you’re responsible for), you can hire a chartered surveyor to perform a dilapidation survey if you feel the claims are unfair.
At Harding Chartered Surveyors, we’re a team of independent and impartial RICS surveyors that can carry out surveys on behalf of landlords and tenants of commercial properties. Below, we’ll detail what a dilapidation survey is and the benefits of obtaining one. If you have any questions, need advice or want to book a dilapidation survey, don’t hesitate to call us on 020 3598 6730.
What Is a Dilapidation Survey?
Dilapidation survey reports can be obtained prior to leasing your property and at the end of – or during – a tenancy. In most cases, dilapidation surveys are requested by landlords, but they can also be beneficial for tenants in many situations.
To carry out a dilapidation survey, a chartered surveyor will assess the condition of your property on a room-by-room basis. Your surveyor will inspect your property’s:
- Doors and frames
- Light fittings
- And much more
Essentially, your chartered surveyor will inspect every visible area of your property. They may also assess the condition of any adjoining properties.
If requested before leasing a property, landlords can use their dilapidation survey report to ensure the lease contract includes the tenant’s responsibilities regarding the maintenance of the property. After the lease, landlords can obtain a dilapidation survey report to check whether the tenant has met their obligations. If you need to claim compensation from your client, you’ll need a chartered surveyor to prepare a Schedule of Dilapidations, which details the damages and estimated cost of any required construction works.
Landlords can’t profit from their tenants when issuing a Schedule of Dilapidations. They can only request compensation based on the cost of repairing the damage and any other financial losses, which could include:
- The need to repair damage caused to adjoining properties
- Surveyor and other third-party fees
- Ground contamination resulting from damages
- Any loss of rent or service charges incurred as a result of having to carry out repairs
Your surveyor will ask what your plans for the property are when your tenant’s contract ends. For example, if you intend to alter your property, your tenant isn’t responsible for covering such costs. You must be honest about your plans because, if not, your tenant may file a complaint at a later stage.
Whether you’re a landlord that needs to determine your tenant’s dilapidation responsibilities or a tenant that feels they’ve been unfairly issued with a Schedule of Dilapidations, we can help. If you need advice or want to obtain a free quote, call us. When you choose Harding Chartered Surveyors, you can rest assured you’ll receive advice directly from a RICS surveyor rather than a salesperson.
The Advantages of a Dilapidation Survey for Tenants
- Save on administrative costs
Because your landlord can claim compensation based on any financial losses in addition to the cost of repairing the damage, you might want to hire a chartered surveyor to perform a dilapidation survey before the end of your tenancy.
- Gain control over who carries out any required works
By repairing any damages and reinstating alterations before being issued with a Schedule of Dilapidations, you have the freedom to hire cost-effective contractors rather than cover the costs of the contractors your landlord chooses.
- Prevent disputes from arising
Fighting a claim can be a costly process. If you’d rather avoid legal penalties and the need to go to court, you might want to hire a chartered surveyor to perform a dilapidation survey. We should note that most disputes are settled outside of court via Alternative Dispute Resolution. We can guide you through the process of reaching agreements through expert determination, mediation or arbitration.
The Benefits of a Dilapidation Survey for Landlords
- Make sure your tenant lives up to their responsibilities
There’s always a risk that your tenant will cause damage to – or alter – your property. If they do, you need to make sure they’re legally obligated to complete the repairs or reinstate the alterations so that you don’t end up out of pocket.
- Minimise the risk of financial loss
If you fail to include your tenant’s responsibilities regarding maintenance in the initial lease contract, you may not be able to claim compensation for any damages at the end of their tenancy.
- Gain an insight into the condition of your property before leasing it
It’s crucial to assess the condition of your property before the tenant occupies it. Your tenant may have a better chance of disputing your claims if you can’t prove they were directly responsible for any damage caused during their tenancy.
The Benefits of a Dilapidation Survey
Dilapidation surveys help protect both landlords and tenants from a legal standpoint. Even though we mostly perform surveys on commercial properties, we can also carry them out on residential properties as it is likely that the procedures set out in the Dilapidations Protocol are the best way to solve residential disputes.
Do You Need a Dilapidation Survey?
At Harding Chartered Surveyors, we can work on behalf of tenants and landlords and liaise with third-party surveyors to help you reach an amicable agreement outside of court. Should you need to go to court to fight a claim, we also offer expert witness services. All advice is impartial and based on the strict guidelines set out by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
If you have any questions or want to book a comprehensive dilapidation survey, get in touch with our professionals on 020 3598 6730. We’ll gladly guide you through the process and work to resolve your matter efficiently.
Independent firm of RICS Chartered Surveyors
Established in 1997, Harding Chartered Surveyors have helped thousands of families, individuals and businesses with their property needs for over two decades.
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The Harding’s team consists of RICS Chartered Surveyors and registered valuers with expertise in building surveys, valuation, Leasehold Reform, Party Wall matters, taxation valuation, and expert witness.
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Comprehensive reports featuring written reports, photographs and quotes for any required works. Our Chartered Surveyors use advanced equipment, such as Pole Cams, to inspect every accessible nook and cranny of the property.
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