Dilapidations generally refer to a tenant’s breach of repair clauses in the leases. These breaches can arise during the lease term but are more commonly dealt with when the lease ends (referred to as terminal dilapidations)

Breaches of the following types of covenants are generally relevant to the tenant’s liability for dilapidations:  

  • A repairing or decorating covenant;
  • A covenant that specifies the state in which the tenant is required to leave the premises at the end of the lease;
  • A covenant to reinstate the premises if the tenant has carried out alterations.

These types of covenants are normally contained in the lease but additional obligations might also be found in a supplemental document such as a licence for alterations or deed of variation.

At the end of the lease, a landlord or a landlord’s surveyor will usually inspect the premises and serve a schedule of dilapidations on the tenant identifying each breach of the tenant’s covenants.

If the tenant refuses to make the repairs or pay for the costs of the repairs, or if the tenant disputes the schedule, the landlord may need to claim damages.

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I am a Partner at Naylor Solicitors, a law firm specialising in property disputes and resolution. I would be delighted to assist with any queries you may have. Please get in touch to arrange a no obligation consultation.

James Naylor

What remedies does a landlord have?

The remedies available to the landlord depend on the specific terms of the lease and whether or not the lease has ended. They may include:

  • Damages to compensate the landlord for the disrepair;
  • Forfeiture to terminate the lease;
  • The right to enter the property during the term of the lease, to carry out any repair works and then recover the cost of doing so from the tenant (if there is an express right to do so under the lease);
  • Specific performance to compel the tenant to carry out the works but this is rarely appropriate.

If the lease has ended, the measure of damages is the reasonable cost of doing the works plus loss of rent for the period until the works have been completed, where appropriate. However, damages are generally limited to the loss in value to the landlord’s property.

We can act for landlords faced with a tenant’s breach of repair obligations, including advising on the appropriate remedy and ensuring you are compensated for your losses.

How can a tenant dispute dilapidations?

Unless the tenant disputes the alleged breach, it will generally be better for the tenant to carry out the works itself and avoid additional costs arising from litigation.

This also allows the tenant to choose the timing and the method of repair and to use its own contractors, which may reduce costs.

In any event, where there is a choice of method of repairing, as long as the standard of repair is appropriate, it would be for the tenant to choose the method anyway.

We can represent tenants seeking to dispute dilapidations through negotiations and, if necessary, by defending a damages claim.

What is the procedure for a damages claim concerning terminal dilapidations?

The Dilapidations Protocol sets out a framework for landlords and tenants to follow in dilapidations disputes. There are strict procedures and time limits to follow which are designed to encourage an early and amicable settlement of disputes without going to court.

This will involve:

  • Determining the extent of the landlord and tenant’s rights and responsibilities under the lease;
  • Determining what is recoverable in terms of costs and damages;
  • Serving a schedule of dilapidations within a reasonable time (usually within 56 days after the end of the lease);
  • Negotiating a settlement and pursuing alternative forms of dispute resolution before taking the matter to court.

We can act for a landlord or a tenant in a damages claim, including providing expert legal advice for your particular case.

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Violeta Korkucyte
Violeta Korkucyte
I am very happy with the service provided by Dominika Libova who helped me out with both my housing and allotment issues. Dominika was very professional, knowledgeable and understanding. I am grateful for all support and understanding received. I highly recommend Dominika and I will certainly continue using Naylor Solicitors services, should again there will be any need. Thank you so much! Kind regards, Violeta Korkucyte
Xuan Xing
Xuan Xing
I used Naylor as my solicitor in my possesion claim case. It was very complicated due to a rent-to-rent and defaulting agent case with changing solicitors in the past. Jenny and Dominika provided top-notch services along the way and helped me finally regained the property. They gave legal advices truly in client's interest and explained things in details. I would highly recommend you using them esp. when you face a complicated case.
Hi, My landlord posted an arrears repayment request letter (for my commercial property) to my old residential address where I haven't lived for over 20 years. To make things worse, some of my estranged family out of spite 'sat on the letter and never told me'. When my sick father found out he told me but by that time it was too late and my landlord had then tried 'to dig up a old expired lease clause' to evict me instead. I contacted the landlord and instructed Naylors to help me, as I have used them previously without any problems. I had an excellent service and outcome before and this time felt I was in very safe hands. However my landlord served me a 'forfeiture of lease and claimed repossession. Distraught Naylors saved the day and I am delighted, relieved and very grateful to say the landlord has given my keys back to me today, (within 48hrs of Naylors contacting them on my behalf) and I am back in my shop. Thank you so so much James, Jonathan, Jasper, Gurcharan and the whole team at Naylors, you guys are fantastic! keep up the amazing work. best wishes shabana x
Relinda Howard
Relinda Howard
I take this opportunity of thanking Dominika for her expertise and professionalism. She certainly made my experience of this situation more pleasant . She appears to be a person of strength and determination. When it is time to be firm she can be. Thanks for her perseverance in completing what she started. Relinda.
Mark Genney
Mark Genney
I have to say Naylor went the extra mile, my case must have lasted 5 years or so. I'm very happy with the amount of professionalism and talent that Naylor brought to this.
BB Roy
BB Roy
This specialist, yet unassuming Property Law firm came to my rescue by evicting a tenant in my property who was illegally subletting. At the outset, the principal of the firm - James Naylor set out a very clear forthright approach to get the tenants out by a given date. Then it was all up to a very high impact Solicitor Nida Khan to execute that plan. Nida was diligent and persistent in her manner with the tenants and left them with little scope to manoeuvre other than to surrender the tenancy by the specified date or to face imminent eviction by court orders. Through out the two week's process - Nida kept me informed, was easy to communicate with and was always reassuring. I am very grateful to Naylor's LLP for their professional service and happy to recommend Nida and her firm as outstanding property law practitioners.
Nurliah Fisher
Nurliah Fisher
I would like to thanks to all the staff at Naylor Solicitors. They are all very helpful and the most important is for me that’s they are very honest. Wishing them all the best and success with their team work and especially to Dominika, Many thanks for your hard work. Best wishes Nurliah Fisher
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Mustafa Kalaycı
The most honest, hardworking, and fully professional law firm I have encountered or worked with. Despite speaking different languages, they effectively understand you through their interpreters, find the best advisors to assist you, and acquire the necessary information. They create a friendly, family-like atmosphere with a straightforward approach, particularly in litigation expertise. My gratitude goes to all the staff involved, especially James Naylor and Jenny Cheung, for their dedication. Thanks for everything. Mustafa KALAYCI
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Ray Allen
Ray Allen
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