Dilapidation claims arise when a tenant fails to comply with the repair obligations contained within their commercial lease. Claims can be brought at the end of the term of the lease, otherwise known as terminal dilapidations, or during the term, otherwise known as interim dilapidations. Dilapidation claims can be complex but at Birch Law our expert dilapidation solicitors have years of experience acting for landlords and tenants in connection with dilapidation matters. We have represented claims for and against large institutional companies in the office, retail, leisure and mixed use sectors. We are therefore well positioned to deal with any dilapidation claim.

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At Birch Law we have considerable experience acting for both principals and agents in respect of all aspects of The Commercial Agents (Council Directive) Regulations 1993 both before and after the termination of the agency relationship.


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At the end of a commercial lease a landlord will inspect the premises to ensure that it is returned in accordance with the terms of the lease. If the premises is not returned in a condition as required by the lease the landlord can then bring a terminal dilapidation claim against the tenant and seek damages to compensate the landlord for the loss it suffers to put the premises back into the condition it should have been in. Terminal dilapidation claims normally include a claim for the cost of doing the work, loss of rent, service charges and rates for the period it takes for the works to be completed (subject to this being reasonable). It may also include claims for professional fees such as surveyors and solicitors.

Before commencing court proceedings, the landlord will prepare and serve on the tenant a schedule of dilapidations. This schedule is prepared by the landlord’s building surveyor and itemises the landlord’s claim. It will set out in detail each breach and the cost of rectification. The tenant will then have the opportunity of responding to the schedule before formal court proceedings are issued. At Birch Law we can work with you and your surveyor in connection with the preparation and service of the schedule of dilapidations.

Section 18 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1927 can be used by a tenant to try to limit a landlord’s claim for dilapidations. Section 18 provides that: (1) the repair costs claimed cannot exceed the amount (if any) by which the value of the reversion in the premises is diminished; and (2) no repair costs can be recovered if at, or shortly after, the termination of the lease the building will be demolished, or structural alterations are to be made as would render the repairs valueless. A section 18 defence therefore can have a significant impact and, in some instances, reduce the value of a terminal dilapidations claim to nil. It is important to note that section 18 defences only apply to terminal dilapidation claims.

Interim dilapidation claims are a great way for landlords to manage any breach of repairing obligations during the term of a lease. By bringing an interim dilapidation claim a landlord can ensure their investment is protected by requesting the tenant to undertake immediate repair works to preserve the value of the property during the term rather than having to wait to the end. It is also worth noting that the tenant will not be able to rely on section 18 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1927 when trying to dispute the claim.

Furthermore, where a tenant refuses to comply with a repair obligation during the term of a lease landlords often have a right under the terms of a lease to do the works themselves and recharge the costs of the works as a debt to the tenant. Other remedies for an interim dilapidation claim might include a landlord applying for forfeiture of the lease or for obtaining a court order for specific performance (to compel the tenant to do the works). By contrast, the only remedy available for a terminal dilapidations claim is damages for breach of contract.

At Birch Law our expert dilapidation solicitors have vast experience working with landlords and tenants when it comes to dilapidation claims. We have acted for a vast array of clients ranging from small landlords and tenants to large property developers. The matters we have been involved with have been in respect of offices, retail units, leisure developments and mixed use business premises. We provide exceptional tailored legal advice and assistance at unrivaled value for money. If you would like to discuss your case with us today please contact us on 0161 669 4621 or by email at

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