When should tenants pay for repairs?

Whether you are a tenant or a landlord, dilapidations may occur at any time. But before you know how to rectify them, it is advisable to know what they are.

for-rentThis article about dealing with dilapidations starts with the answer to a very common question…

What are dilapidations?

Dilapidations are items of disrepair or defects that residing tenants need to repair or at least pay to have repaired, under agreements made in the lease.

A schedule of dilapidations is normally drawn up that essentially is a course of action designed to force a tenant to pay for the repairs needed. These repairs could have occurred throughout the tenancy or become worse as a result of the tenancy.

A schedule of dilapidations can also be drawn up if any alterations have been made to the property during the lease. The landlord can then request that the property be returned to its original state preceding the start of the lease.

When should I draw up a schedule of dilapidations

While there is no good time to request a schedule of dilapidations, an ideal time to request one is towards the end of a lease.

In some cases, schedules of dilapidations have been issued following the end of the lease, which can lead some tenants to believe that their association with the property has come to an end only to be slapped with an unexpected bill for repairs.

By issuing a schedule of dilapidations towards the end of the lease, the tenants are able to attempt to do something about the dilapidations in question or dispute it if the claims are unfounded.

Disputing a schedule of dilapidation

There may be an incident where tenants will be asked to pay for dilapidations that should have been repaired following the end of the previous tenancy.

In other situations, a landlord may make a claim requesting tenants reinstate any alterations they have made, although no alterations were made during the tenancy. Disputes like this can be easily resolved if the schedule is issued before the end of the tenancy, but harder to prove or disprove at the end of the lease.

In these cases professional legal advice must be sought. As the lifespan of leases becomes shorter, dilapidations are a source of growing unease between landlords and tenants. Both landlord and tenant have a reasonable duty of care to the property and when that duty of care is not upheld, dilapidations disputes occur.

It is always recommended to request the assistance of an experience surveyor in the event of a dilapidations dispute, as professional surveyors will be able to assess any damage done and draw reasonable conclusions as to the cause of said damages.

In some cases, landlords will attempt to force tenants to pay more than their dues, whereas in other cases some tenants may reject their duty of care, resulting in further damages. It is the surveyor’s duty to find the truth and to help both parties reach a satisfying conclusion.

If you feel that a recent schedule of dilapidation issued is unfair or untrue, it is important to dispute it otherwise you may have to pay damages. Whether landlord or tenant, if it comes down to it, the case may need to be settled in court, which is not recommended. An expert surveyor will always be on hand to provide you with the advice needed, in whatever situation.

Article provided by Mike, in association with RMA Surveyors.