Why commissioning a Schedule of Condition can be a shrewd investment when entering into a commercial lease

In terms of recouping your investment and potentially saving thousands of pounds, this one is hard to beat. 

Harrison Clarke, the leading firm of Chartered Building Surveyors in the Hampshire area, explains how.

What is a Schedule of Condition?

Also often referred to as a Photographic Schedule of Condition, or PSoC, a Schedule of Condition is the document that records the condition of a commercial building, before you enter into a lease.

It will typically consist of detailed text descriptions of every building element, each of which is generally accompanied by supporting photographs. This document can end up being longer than the lease itself.

Traditionally, solicitors have wanted to see a hard copy of the PSoC, appended to the lease.

This is still possible; however, due to evolving technology, it is now common for these documents to be presented and stored electronically, securely on a company server, or by remote cloud hosting. This is more efficient for the many high resolution photographs that a modern PSoC is likely to include.

Storing Schedules of Condition online is also practical for maintaining the usability of the PSoC, providing maximum value at lease end, and ensuring that photos retain their clarity.

Why do you need a Schedule of Condition?

As the purpose of the Schedule of Condition is to record the condition of a commercial property at the start of a lease, having a professionally prepared, thorough Schedule of Condition can prove invaluable at lease end, as it is the only way to prove any deterioration of the property that has happened during the period of the lease.

It can help to reduce or mitigate the lease end dilapidations claim – often saving tenants thousands or even hundreds of thousands of pounds when agreeing a dilapidations settlement, compared to an agreement made when there is no Schedule of Condition to refer to and to use as evidence in backing up any appeal against a claim.

An empty shop window.

Through correct lease drafting, and appending the PSoC, a repairing covenant can be modified to reduce the tenant’s repairing liability. For example, if any areas of the building are in disrepair at lease commencement, the parties to the lease can agree that these need not be a better condition at lease end than they were at lease commencement. 

This can be helpful for landlords when they are letting a commercial building, as it can make the let more attractive if a tenant is reassured that they will not be required to repair pre-existing damage, therefore potentially reducing the cost of their occupation of the premises. 

Who can prepare a Schedule of Condition?

In theory, anyone can prepare a Schedule of Condition. However, we would not recommend that anyone not qualified as a building surveyor, or experienced in dilapidations, prepares your Schedule of Condition. 

All surveyors who handle dilapidations have stories to tell about dealing with Schedules of Condition that are worthless, either due to inaccuracies, lack of detail, or lack of clarity – sometimes resulting from too many journeys through a photocopier.

For a Schedule of Condition to provide best value, it should be prepared by a surveyor who understands the dilapidations process and who is able to accurately describe the building in a useful and accountable way. 

Asking a professional to prepare a Schedule of Condition is likely to pay dividends at lease end, as it will have recorded important information that could be worth its weight in gold during the dilapidations process. 

It is not uncommon for us to see people saving 10 times or even 100 times the cost of preparing the Schedule of Condition because it limits the amount of a landlord’s dilapidations claim when used properly. These figures are when compared to an unrestricted repairing liability. 

How you can arrange a Schedule of Condition

As dilapidations experts, the team at Harrison Clarke Chartered Surveyors is ideally positioned to prepare your Schedule of Condition. 

We use special software for these instructions, which allows us to prepare a detailed and accurate Schedule of Condition quickly, and at a relatively low cost. 

We can also store your Schedule of Condition on a remote cloud server for the duration of your lease, so you have the peace of mind of knowing it will be there when you need it, at lease end. 

Please get in touch to discuss your requirements and ask any questions – we are always happy to help with information and advice about entering into a lease, and we can also review a draft lease for you, to let you know whether a lease and dilapidations claim could be further mitigated through simple solutions. 

How you can contact Harrison Clarke

Call our team of highly qualified and experienced surveyors on 023 8155 0051, or email us at info@harrisonclarke.co. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Discover something you would like to know more about?

Tim Clarke, Director at Harrison Clarke chartered surveyors.

About the author

Tim Clarke,


Tim set up Harrison Clarke Chartered Surveyors in July 2017 following a series of public and private sector surveying roles, having previously worked for the University of Cambridge, Rund Partnership, Goadsby, and CBRE. 

Tim has degrees in building surveying, construction project management, and business administration.