Expert help for making and defending dilapidations claims
Dilapidations claims can arise where a tenant fails to suitably repair any damage to a property and/or to meet their obligations under the lease with regard to the state of the property when vacating the premises. The cost of making right these issues can be substantial, so it pays to get expert legal advice when facing this type of situation.
David W Harris & Co can advise landlords and tenants on their rights and obligations, including any specific dilapidations provision in their lease agreements. We will always seek an amicable resolution out of court in the first instance to save you time, money and stress, but can back you all the way if court action is required.
Our dispute resolution solicitors in South Wales can help with matters including:
- Advice on dilapidations rights and obligations
- Advice on Notices to Repair
- Preparing and responding to Schedules of Dilapidations
- Bringing dilapidations claims as a landlord
- Responding to dilapidations claims as a tenant
- Diminution in Value under section 18(1) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1927
- The Pre-Action Protocol for dilapidations claims
- Alternative dispute resolution for dilapidations claims
- Court proceedings to resolve dilapidations claims
Whether you are seeking help with a dilapidations claim at the end of a tenancy or during a tenancy, our experts can provide clear, practical guidance that protects your interests.
Discuss your requirements with our dilapidations claims solicitors in Swansea, Pontypridd and Talbot Green
We offer a free first consultation to answer your questions and help you decide whether we are the right people to assist you.
Please use our simple online enquiry form to book a free initial chat with one of our dilapidations claims solicitors. We respond promptly to all enquiries.
Common questions about dilapidations claims
What is a dilapidations claim?
A dilapidations claim is a legal claim made by a landlord against a tenant where that tenant has failed to hand the property back at the end of their tenancy in a way that complies with their obligations under their lease or has not promptly fixed any damage during the tenancy.
Common examples of situations where a landlord may need to make a dilapidations claim include where the tenant has failed to make good any damage to the property and where the tenant made alterations to the property, such as removing or adding internal walls, and has failed to put the property back to its original state before vacating the premises.
What are the types of dilapidations claims?
There are two key types of dilapidations claims a landlord can bring:
- Terminal dilapidations claims – These are claims brought by a landlord for dilapidations issues that are found at the end of a lease agreement when the tenant vacates the property.
- Interim dilapidations claims – These are claims brought by a landlord while the tenancy is still ongoing to ensure any damage is promptly repaired or that unauthorised alterations to the property are put right.
Who is responsible for dilapidations?
A tenant will normally have responsibility for dilapidations as set out under the terms of their lease. Exactly what this responsibility covers will depend on the terms of the lease agreement with regard to dilapidations provisions, but will typically include:
- Keeping the premises in good repair.
- Returning the property to the landlord at the end of the tenancy in the same condition as it was at the start of the tenancy.
How are dilapidations claims resolved?
The first step is normally for the landlord to commission a dilapidations survey from a specialist dilapidations surveyor. They will carry out a detailed examination of the premises and prepare a report identifying any issues that need to be fixed.
The landlord (or their legal representative) will then prepare a Schedule of Dilapidations explaining all of the relevant clauses of the lease agreement in relation to dilapidations and any breaches of these clauses that have been identified. This Schedule will then be given to the tenant to review.
When a tenant receives a Schedule of Dilapidations, they can:
- Accept the terms and make good any problems.
- Agree a payment to the landlord to cover the cost of making good the problems in exchange for discharging their legal obligation with respect to the dilapidations.
- Contest some of the dilapidations and negotiate with the landlord to agree which issues they will fix or make payment for.
- Seek to limit the amount payable for dilapidations under section 18(1) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1927
- Entirely reject the Schedule of Dilapidations and refuse to fix any issues or make payment.
It is important for both landlord and tenant to have expert legal advice before taking action as there can be significant legal and financial risks, especially for a tenant who is disputing the Schedule of Dilapidations.
Where there is a dispute, the landlord and tenant will normally need to first attempt to find an amicable solution through private negotiation or using the ‘Pre-Action Protocol for Claims for Damages in Relation to the Physical State of Commercial Property at Termination of a Tenancy’ (sometimes called the 'Dilapidations Protocol' or the ‘Pre-Action Protocol for dilapidations claims’).
If a dilapidations settlement cannot be reached voluntarily, then it may be necessary to initiate court proceedings to seek a determination on how the matter should be settled.
How long does a landlord have to claim dilapidations?
Landlords need to serve a ‘Schedule of Dilapidations’ on a tenant no later than 56 days after the end of a tenancy. It is therefore important that the property is thoroughly checked when the tenancy ends and any issues are promptly identified and raised.
Landlords will typically carry out an inspection of the property towards the end of a tenancy to ensure any dilapidations issues are found as soon as possible and, ideally, rectified by the tenant before they vacate the premises.
Our dilapidations claims fees
The cost of legal support for resolving a dilapidations claim can vary significantly based on the exact situation and what approach is required. At David W Harris & Co, we always make the likely costs clear at the outset, so you can make a sensible decision about how this compares to the amount at stake.
Where appropriate, some services can potentially be provided on a fixed fee basis (e.g. preparing a letter before action). This gives you complete certainty over costs. In other situations, ongoing support may be required, in which case, we would normally work to an agreed hourly rate.
Speak to our dilapidations claims solicitors in Swansea, Pontypridd and Talbot Green
To discuss your requirements with our friendly, sensitive dilapidations claims solicitors in South Wales, please get in touch.
Please use our simple online enquiry form to book a free initial chat with one of our expert solicitors. We respond promptly to all enquiries.