The case history behind dilapidations, and the vagaries of UK law, means dilapidations is complex and often costly.
Dilapidations is unique to the UK and is part of a legal procedure based on breaches of covenant within a lease, the legal remedy of which is often a claim for damages. It is enforceable in a court of law. Dilapidations includes repair, redecoration in most cases full reinstatement back to the layout at lease commencement.
Clearly a landlord will interpret disrepair in an entirely different way to a tenant. Indeed, a tenant’s liability often doesn’t extend to anywhere close to that of the landlord’s viewpoint. In addition, the legal interpretation of repair is far from crystal clear. Guidance from case law goes back to 1890 in the case of Proudfoot Vs Hart. This ensures the standard of repair must be seen from the perspective of a new tenant taking on full liability, and have regard to the age, character and locality of the building.
Leases also place obligations at the end of the term which often require reinstatement and yielding up requirements such as vacant possession. Break clauses may contain covenants which could be extremely difficult to comply with, meaning failure to successfully break the lease. Our team have been instrumental to a landmark court of appeal ruling on conditional break clauses. We have specific Briefing Notes available on both Vacant Possession and Break Clause Conditions.