(Landlord or Landlord's Surveyor not acting fairly)
We market the services of independent Surveyors. Surveyors pride themselves on a high standard of work. We can offer Schedules of Condition with regard to leases , Property Reports, Schedules of Dilapidations, Scott Schedules, Commercial Building Surveys, Structural Reports, Specific Defects Reports. Note these are not for bank lending but are to advise you how much we feel the property is really worth. If you have a property problem we may even already have written an article on it and we would refer you to the many articles we have on our website. All our independent surveyors are more than happy to chat to you about your property. Please Free Phone us on 0800 298 5424 and surveyor will call you back.
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Schedules of Dilapidations as certain as death and taxes
As we have mentioned many times on this website schedules of dilapidations claims are as certain as death and taxes and we hope you make provision for them, setting aside some money for the cost of the repair work (if you contact us we can give you an accurate picture of the amount of money you may have to pay out in a dilapidations monetary settlement) or, indeed, carrying out the repair work yourself towards the end of the lease (we can tender this and organise the work and this is often the cheaper way of settling a dilapidations claim, even if you haven't had a schedule of dilapidations we recommend you contact us on this as you may well get one once you have vacated the property). If you leave dealing with the dilapidations until after the end of the lease then it is usually a monetary settlement that the landlord is looking for (many would argue that the landlord is always looking for a monetary settlement). This then becomes a game of chess (some would say poker) as to your surveyors negotiation skills.
Schedule of dilapidations promise before you leave the premises but never appeared
There is no legal requirement for a schedule of dilapidations to be served on the tenant against the lease, and in fact the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) Guidance Notes and Protocol recommends within 56 days (but they are only RICS guidance notes) of leaving the premises. However, we have come across a few tenants where they have been advised no schedule of dilapidations will be served, only for it to be served when they move out, or they have had the landlord's surveyor come and look at the property in good time and have been advised that a schedule of dilapidations is on its way, but again it is not served until they have moved out. This is because the landlord can then negotiate for a monetary settlement.
Be warned if you have got a lease coming to an end, this is as certain as death and taxes that you will have a schedule of dilapidations served on you by the landlord. Make sure that you have either negotiated a financial settlement and that it has been agreed in writing, or carried out the dilapidations work before you leave the premises and that the premises are locked, as you have no right to re-enter the premises once your lease has ended. We, as surveyors, specialise in this area can help you out. We would usually recommend carrying out the dilapidations work, as it is generally far cheaper than the landlord carrying out the work or a monetary settlement.
Overpriced schedules of condition
We have come across many of these over the years. Unfortunately, fairly typically they are 25% to 50% high, which can add up to a large amount of money. This is often because the landlord is looking for a Rolls Royce standard of work on his property and is interpreting the lease clauses to meet this requirement, as obviously as a landlord the main reason for having the property is to collect rent and watch their property investment go up in value. Be warned, we have recently come across one landlord's quote for work that was 250% higher than the quotation that we obtained. Whilst, after a lot of persuasion, the landlord, and the landlord's surveyor, did agree to reduce to the contractors costs. This was only after they re-tendered with other contractors.
Landlord advises tenant that no matter whatever quality of work he carries out it won't be good enough!
We have recently come across a case where the tenant was carrying out works on a leasehold property that was coming to the end of a lease in good faith to meet the lease obligations and was advised by the landlord's surveyor that no matter what standard he did it wouldn't be good enough and sure enough he has received a court letter with regard to the dilapidations schedule. We have had a look at the works that have been carried out and we feel it is acceptable for the type of business and the lease requirement and this could best be described as sharp practice, or could it be described as good practice by the landlord and landlord's surveyor, as the serving of a Court Notice will certainly focus the ex-tenant's mind and makes them far more willing to negotiate on the settlement figure.
Not prepared to meet to negotiate
Another dilapidations tactic we have come across recently is a landlord's surveyor that wasn't prepared to meet us to negotiate a particular case. The RICS Guidance Notes recommend 28 days (but they are only guidance notes). It was because negotiation wasn't included within the lease; something that could be charged for but we do feel that any surveyor taking on dilapidations work should include within their fee meeting the other surveyor to agree the various items, how else can a reasonable discussion take place? Or perhaps the landlord or landlord's surveyor doesn't want a reasonable discussion to take place.
The Landlord's surveyor refuses you access to the building you have occupied and paid rent for on many years
Another dilapidations tactic is where when the lease has come to an end and you have vacated the property and a schedule of dilapidations served upon you and your company and you have not been allowed access back into the building to check the items on the schedule of dilapidations. We have recently fought really hard with a landlord and landlord's surveyor just to gain access back into the building to allow us to look around and check the items on the schedule of condition. Their argument was that we wouldn't be insured. We feel this really is being unreasonable and obstructing the dilapidations process. To date we have always been able to negotiate our way into a premises.
Producing biased minutes of the meetings
Another dilapidations tactic that we have come across, which we think is just unacceptable, is where a meeting has taken place (after much painstaking negotiation) and the minutes of the meeting were agreed to be returned within two to three weeks (due to the landlord's surveyor being very busy) but didn't materialise for two to three months and they didn't record the meeting that we attended! Some may say this is the dilapidations game; we feel this is unethical and is the reason why we now always take minutes of any meetings that we have.
You may be interested in these other articles regarding dilapidations and negotiation:
If you truly do want an independent expert opinion from a surveyor with regard to leases, dilapidations, schedules of condition, dilaps claims, scott schedules, commercial structural surveys, commercial building surveys, commercial property reports, structural reports, engineers reports, specific defects report, structural surveys, home buyers reports or any other property matters please contact 0800 298 5424 for a surveyor to give you a call back.
We hope you found the article of use and if you have any experiences that you feel should be added to this article that would benefit others, or you feel that some of the information that we have put is wrong then please do not hesitate to contact us (we are only human).
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