An Expert’s advice on Tenant Rights

July 31 2018

Christopher Sykes explains what you need to know about being a tenant.

The relationship between landlord and tenant is important and can often be tricky, but the biggest and most expensive area of likely upset relates to the “dilapidations” and repairing liabilities under a typical business lease. The problems normally show its ugly head at the end of the lease. The cost of the tenant can be staggeringly expensive and is often an expense not anticipated. The best way to look at this problem is to split it into 5 sections starting with:

Standard Terms

The UK standard lease of commercial property is usually on what is known as a “full repairing” basis. This means that the tenant is expected to keep the property in good repair, condition, decorative order and hand it back in that condition when their lease is over.

Alterations Made to the Property

Depending on how the lease is worded, and any license for the work to be carried out the landlord may be entitled to the tenant to reinstate the property to the condition it was in before alterations were carried out. 

Repairs During the Course of the Lease

A repairing obligation is usually a continuous one and redecoration is often required od a periodic basis. In practice, it’s common for a landlord not to enforce repairing covenants strictly until the lease comes to an end.

An Expert’s Advice on Tenant Rights

If the landlord in question does not suffer any loss because the works were not carried out, then he cannot recover the cost of those works. So, if the landlord intends to knock down the building or redevelop it when the lease ends, the claim can be defended by saying that the failure to carry out the repairs has not caused any loss.

Lease Renewal

Where a tenant and landlord want to renew the lease, it’s common for repairing obligations to be rolled over and not paid until a later date. In practice this often means at the end of the new lease.

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