It’s always advisable, before signing a tenancy
agreement, for a prospective tenant to seek legal
advice in order to get a better idea of the terminology
used and any repairing covenants which may be present
within that agreement. This will give the tenant a
clearer understanding of where their responsibilities
lie with regard to repairs and redecoration.
landlord cannot expect a tenant to repair areas which
were already in disrepair when the tenant moved into
the property so another important course of action
is to carry out a thorough inventory. The inventory
can be undertaken by both the tenant and the landlord
together or by a third party and should include all
areas of damage or disrepair present before the tenant
moved in such as stained carpets, broken windows,
damage to walls and doors, peeling paint, crumbling
plaster work and, most importantly, structural damage.
The inventory should be dated and signed by both the
landlord and tenant and both parties should keep a
copy for their records.
landlord has to expect a general amount of wear and
tear when renting out a property and usually, should
damage occur through the fault of a tenant, the tenant
will contact the landlord to make him aware and then
proceed to put the damage right themselves. However,
if the landlord believes that the tenant has not kept
up their side of the agreement and has not maintained
a good state of repair he can serve the tenant with
a Schedule of Dilapidations.
is a Schedule of Dilapidations?
A Schedule of Dilapidations is a catalogued list of
all the repair obligations of the tenant and all the
repairs the landlord requires the tenant to carry
out. The document will also contain the estimated
costs of repairs which will have been calculated by
the landlord’s building surveyor. On receipt
of a Schedule of Dilapidations it is imperative that
the tenant seeks legal advice and also appoints a
building surveyor to inspect the damage to the property.
The solicitor and building surveyor should also be
given a copy of the tenancy agreement to ascertain
whether the tenant is legally obligated to carry out
the repairs. If it is agreed that the tenant is responsible
for the repairs then the tenant will be given a set
period of time in which to carry out those repairs
at their own cost.
a tenant is served with a Final Schedule of Dilapidations
then this should actually be seen as a damages claim.
A Final Schedule of Dilapidations is served after
the tenancy has ended and, instead of requiring repairs
for the damages, the landlord is actually seeking
compensation to cover the costs of repairing the damage
caused by the tenant.
should a Tenant do when they are served with a Final
Schedule of Dilapidations?
When a tenant is served with a Final Schedule of Dilapidations
then, again, it is vital to appoint both a building
surveyor and solicitor to verify the tenant’s
responsibility and evaluate the damage to the property.
the tenant is responsible for the damages that have
occurred then there is little the tenant can do but
pay up although, in some circumstances the tenant’s
solicitor may be able to come to an agreement regarding
the costs with the tenant’s landlord and, if
this is the case, settling out of court will also
eliminate any further legal costs which would fall
on the tenant. There may also be a possibility that
the landlord is happy for the tenant to make all the
arrangements regarding the repairs themselves. Busy
landlords may be grateful for the opportunity to relinquish
this time consuming responsibility and this enables
the tenant to obtain quotes for the work required
and, subsequently, opt for the most reasonable one.
neither of these options are made available to the
tenant then, the tenant will have no option but to
attend a hearing and pay the amount agreed. However,
there are some very exceptional circumstances under
which the tenant’s obligation to pay for the
repairs will be made void. These circumstances are
known as statutory relief and come into play when
it can be proved that the landlord is intending to
completely demolish the property in question or is
planning to carry out significant renovations which
will render the repairs expected to be paid for by
the tenant completely pointless.
form of statutory relief may enable the tenant to
pay far less than the amount of the costs stated by
the landlord. This happens when the damage which has
occurred has caused devaluation of the property. In
cases like this the landlord cannot claim damages
which exceed the devaluation and can only put in a
claim which is in line with the property’s current