Over four years’ of negotiations settlement eventually reached on an excessive dilapidations claim. The claim dates from 2013 when the claim was first made. The settled sum was less than 10% of the original claim.
The property was a small industrial unit in Stockport, a little south of Manchester. It was approximately 200sqm (2,150sqft), a modest size unit.
The claim was against a guarantor to the lease as the original tenant, a limited company, had been liquidated.
The claim, inclusive of VAT was for £36,688.08. The lease had been for just 3 years, but was rolling over, the rent was just £11,000 per annum.
Dabinett discovered new tenant had been quickly found and minimal works had been carried out.
The inspection by Dabinett found the unit fully occupied by a former neighbouring company, being used for storage.
Many of the costs included were high or simply outside the scope of the repairing obligations. To add to this minimal works were undertaken, as the unit was re-let within just a few months.
Negotiations commenced in October 2013. Discussions between surveyors covered diminution in value, the condition of the property at the outset of the lease and providing evidence of loss.
Three separate surveyors from the same firm worked on behalf of the landlord. The same surveyor stayed in control of the claim for Dabinett and maintained the same arguments and principles.
Settlement was agreed at £3,000. The payment was agreed to be made by installments, which was important for a private individual.
Companies looking to occupy new premises should usually get a schedule of condition carried out at the outset of the lease. With a schedule the claim would have been much lower and would have taken less time to settle. The costs for the schedule of condition would have been a fraction of the eventual fees incurred.
When a schedule of dilapidations arrives, get an experienced Chartered Surveyor to review it and provide a strategy to minimise the liability.