All leases should clearly set out the tenant’s liability in respect of repairs, throughout the tenancy and at the end of the period. Agreeing and enforcing any dilapidations claims often results in a lengthy and expensive process.
The main obligations that are imposed upon a tenant via their lease are:
1. Full repairing lease – that the tenant is obliged to keep the whole building in repair and where there are multiple tenants, is responsible for a proportion of the cost of shared areas/outside of the building. The tenant is responsible for all the repairs
2. Keep in repair – this usually taken to mean ‘keep and put into repair’ and can be a big risk to the tenant because if the property is not in a good state of repair at the start, they can be obliged to remedy these problems at their own expense.
3. Keep in good repair and condition – this is more than simply ‘good repair’ and can require work to be undertaken by the tenant to fix problems even if they are not caused by disrepair
4. To maintain the property – this depends upon how the term is used, it may mean keeping the property in the state it was at the start of the tenancy or it can impose a requirement to carry out repairs to existing defects
5. Obligations to renew – this can include the requirement to rebuild the property, however an agreement to renew is likely to be assessed as being onerous.
At Hanne & Co, we have experience of dealing with all types of claims involving dilapidations or disrepair on behalf of the landlord and the tenant and can advise at the early stages the interpretation of the lease as well as enforcing or defending claims at court.