Considering entering into a commercial tenancy? Brady Solicitors encourage you to pay attention to the schedule of condition before putting pen to paper.

A recent case has highlighted the importance of ensuring that there is an accurate schedule of condition attached to your commercial tenancy agreement.

This case involved a tenant who was facing a dilapidations demand of in excess of £145,000 from his former landlord.

The demand was for repairs and decoration of the building’s mezzanine floor – an area of the building that had been in poor repair at the start of the three-year tenancy. The tenant had not used the floor during the tenancy and had not done any work to it.

Full repairing covenant…

The lease contained a full repairing covenant and, importantly, specific obligations on the decoration and upkeep of the mezzanine floor. Unfortunately however there was no schedule of condition, and so nothing confirming the state of disrepair of this mezzanine floor at the outset of the tenancy.

…no schedule of condition

This was a particularly difficult case as the tenant had little defence to the landlord’s claim: without a schedule of condition there was no evidence of the state of the mezzanine floor when they moved into the building. The tenant had signed the lease, thereby accepting the obligation on the decoration and upkeep of the mezzanine floor.

It’s a simple message, but one that bears repeating: before you sign a lease on a commercial property, make sure you have an accurate schedule of condition, especially when the lease contains a full repairing covenant as it did in this unfortunate – and expensive – case.

In some cases you may be able to prove a section 18(1) defence as highlighted in this client success story.

The best option however is to take care at the outset: get legal advice on the lease you are signing up to – it might seem like an unwanted expense at the time, but it will be considerably cheaper than a £145,000 dilapidations bill!

Expert help on commercial property matters

Whether you need help with a dilapidations claim or an expert set of eyes on your commercial property lease, contact the legal experts at Brady Solicitors for a friendly and no-obligation conversation. Call us on 0115 985 3450 or click here to send us an email.