Do you feel your dilapidations claim is unfair?

When business owners and directors receive a claim for dilapidations damages at the end of their lease, they often feel that the landlord is treating them unfairly. 

If the business was not expecting to receive a Schedule of Dilapidations, the cost demand can come as quite a shock, causing it to be a very stressful time for those involved. 

Many businesses enter into a lease without receiving proper professional representation and, as with most legal agreements, cutting costs upfront can turn out to be very expensive in the long run. 

Speaking as an experienced chartered surveyor firm with a specialist team of dilapidations surveyors, we at Harrison Clarke would always recommend that, prior to leasing a property, businesses should seek professional advice from a specialist property solicitor, and a chartered building surveyor with proven extensive experience in dilapidations. 

These parties working together can help to de-risk a lease and support your business in taking steps to mitigate or avoid action at lease end.

The building is in a better condition than at lease commencement

We often hear this statement coming from tenant clients when we are representing them in a dilapidations dispute. 

This may be the case but the sad fact is that, unless the repairing covenant is restricted, for example by using a professionally prepared Photographic Schedule of Condition which is appended to the lease, the repairing covenant is quite absolute and not relative to the condition of the property at lease commencement. 

Receiving a claim to put the building back into better condition than it was at lease commencement can be very frustrating but, with proper representation, claims of this nature can be mitigated by an experienced dilapidations surveyor.

When you covenant to keep a property in good repair, the law implies the words ‘put and’ before keep which means that, if you take on a building in disrepair, it will be incumbent on you to put it into repair, and subsequently maintain it in the repaired condition. 

Sometimes, addressing this repair can be more costly than the rent, which is one reason why it is critical to take professional advice at lease commencement. 


I have always had a good relationship with my landlord

Regardless of how good your relationship with your landlord has been, this is a business relationship. Some business owners are tempted to overpay dilapidations claims by thousands, if not tens of thousands of pounds, in order to maintain their harmonious landlord/tenant relationship. 

In many instances, this might be the last dealing you have with your landlord. So, you should question very carefully the value of this relationship and its impact on the financial decisions you make at this time. 

Businesses exist to make money and, for both landlords and tenants, we always advise that dilapidations should be approached in a businesslike manner, leaving personal feelings aside. 

Using a professional dilapidations surveyor can help to separate facts from feelings, and provide a buffer between the landlord and tenant. 

This can help to reduce the discord between both parties and, if approached properly, can result in good relationships being maintained, despite the potentially contentious nature of a dilapidations claim.


The landlord is taking money for nothing

With some claims, this can be the case. A whole dilapidations industry has sprung up, with landlords seeing dilapidations as an opportunity for a bonus payment.

In reality, the dilapidations process is there to ensure that the landlord does not suffer a loss as a result of a tenant’s action or inaction. It is important to appoint a specialist dilapidations surveyor to ensure that the landlord is not over-compensated for any perceived or actual loss. 


Landlords have more power than tenants

This is sometimes true. The majority of businesses in England and Wales are small organisations with limited experience of the commercial property world, whereas the majority of commercial premises are held by large organisations who are experienced landlords. 

There is limited statute to help protect tenants in England and Wales. This is in contrast with the codified approach taken in many continental countries, where dilapidations disputes cost far less and are resolved more quickly. 

Research by CBRE (the global leader in commercial real estate services and investments) found that, on a particular style of office building, a lease end claim in England and Wales is likely to be 17 times more expensive than a comparable building in the Netherlands, for example.

If you don’t appoint your own professional representation, the power imbalance could be dramatic. But, by appointing the right adviser, you can level this power imbalance, making the dilapidations process fairer.


How Harrison Clarke can help

Our team of specialist dilapidations surveyors is here to make the dilapidations process fairer, and reduce the power imbalance that often arises in landlord/tenant relationships. 

Whether you are thinking of entering into a new lease or you are currently dealing with a dilapidations claim, our expert surveyors can negotiate with your landlord on your behalf, taking a potentially stressful situation off your hands and hopefully saving you a substantial amount of money by reducing or mitigating your dilapidations claim. 

For further guidance and useful tips and information on the range of surveying services we provide, you can read our blogs and watch our videos. These are available on our website and our YouTube channel


How you can contact Harrison Clarke

Call our friendly, expert and highly qualified surveyors on 023 8155 0051, or email us at We would welcome the opportunity to help with any queries or needs you may have.

At the time of writing, we have a total of 76 reviews across Trustpilot and Google. We are proud to say that they are all 5 star ratings across the board.

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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.