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As part of their lease of business premises, tenants have obligations to keep a property in a certain state of repair and decoration. The term 'dilapidations' refers to a state of repair and decorative order that falls below the level required under the lease.

If a landlord wishes to make a claim against their tenant for dilapidations, they must first prepare a schedule of dilapidations and send it to their tenant. The schedule is a formal document setting out all the clauses in the lease on the property which impose obligations on the tenant regarding the condition of the property. It therefore includes the repairing obligation, and also any decoration obligations. If the schedule is served at the end of a lease - known as a 'terminal schedule of dilapidations', it will also contain the tenant's obligations to reinstate any alterations they have carried out during the term of the lease.

The document will furthermore identify areas of work needed to the property (e.g. repaint windowsills, doorframes, replace cracked floor tiles etc). As a landlord, you should get your surveyor to cost up these repairs and include them in a column as part of the schedule.

If a tenant does not meet their obligations, you may find yourself involved in a dispute. Take legal advice as soon as you can to minimise your losses and find a resolution to the problem. Call Richard Tomlinson at Lawson-West on 0116 212 1061 to find out how we can help.