Key Team Member: Richard Douglas
We are market leaders in providing dilapidation services on all types of commercial property across the UK. We do this for a diverse range of Clients in respect of differing leasehold interests, be it single short leases or complex multi-tenanted arrangements on individual properties or across a portfolio. Our regional network of offices make coverage on a national basis possible.
Many Clients have benefited from our ability to cover all parts of the UK and we have arrangements / frameworks in place with several well-known organisations. This includes Thomas Cook, WPP, AVIVA, CRUK and Columbia Threadneedle, and in some cases we act for these Clients exclusively providing regular advice and support as required.
We can prepare and defend interim and terminal claims as well as compiling dilapidation assessments and providing advice around lease breaks. We can also provide technical guidance in respect of repairs notices or building disputes relating to inherent defects. Where there is a benefit to carry out remedial re-instatement works, we can organise the appropriate contract administration processes including competitive tendering to achieve cost control.
If claims cannot be settled by works or normal negotiations and result in legal proceedings, we are able to provide Expert Witness support. We can also provide technical support in other forms of dispute resolution, mediation etc.
Whether we are acting for Landlords or Tenants we are flexible in our approach and treat each claim on its own merits.
We understand & follow Court based Protocols and RICS Guidance in the formatting of claims and Quantified Demands. In doing this we can work in conjunction with client lawyers and this may be of paramount importance in the case of lease breaks especially where there is a need to achieve vacant possession and/or ensure compliance with all reinstatement and repairing covenants under a lease.
We can also advise on the impact of potential supersession relating to refurbishment and improvement works on dilapidations and consulting valuers where needed.
Commonly we are appointed by tenants to advise on complying with Repair Notices served during the mid-term of a lease. Our assistance may be to advise on a generalised list of alleged disrepairs, or to deal with a more comprehensive interim schedule, perhaps linked to the Landlord’s attempt to frustrate the lease. This can also involve investigating building defects and advising on responsibilities for those of an inherent nature.
Repair notices may be used by Landlord’s to genuinely encourage a tenant to undertake backlog maintenance works, and we can produce suitable schedules as part of this process working with legal advisers as needed.
One of the core areas of support we offer is in pre-lease end assessments of dilapidations to help assist in financial planning.
This may be part of a wider approach where there is a need to provide strategic advice on the scope of potential liability with early cost assessments and other consultancy support. This is most commonly to allow a tenant to make accounting accrual or to help reach a decision on whether to stay or move. It can also be in cases of company splits, mergers or acquisitions that require dilapidations assessments to be produced or where there is a change in the leasing structure resulting in assignments or other tenancy changes.
Dealing with lease break situations requires careful consideration and close liaison with the Client’s legal representatives if the break is to be followed as these are subject to specific obligations. Interpretation of these needs, including vacant procession, is also subject to a knowledge of current case law and we can assist on these cases.
It may be in agreeing an earlier surrender sum for a tenant to ensure the break is agreed or alternatively achieving a beneficial financial settlement for a Landlord who may be seeking to ends a tenancy for refurbishment or other reasons.