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Schedules Of Condition

One of the services we provide for our commercial property clients at Dilapsolutions is the preparation of Schedules of Condition.

Commercial building with many windows

What Is A Schedule Of Condition?

A Schedule of Condition is a factual record detailing the condition of a commercial rental property on a particular date.

In most cases, the Schedule of Condition is prepared for legal (lease or contractual) reasons and can be very useful if there are any disputes, in particular, as a way of avoiding or reducing the issues in any future dilapidations claims under the terms of the lease. A Schedule of Condition can also ensure that any issues with a property are identified before signing up for a lease.

Schedules of Condition can be presented in a range of different forms, including photographic formats. This is known as a Photographic Schedule of Condition. A Full Schedule of Condition includes text, as well as photos and sometimes video.

What Are Schedules Of Condition Used For?

A Schedule of Condition can be prepared for a range of different reasons.

Three shops on the street

A Schedule of Condition can be used when a new lease is entered into, providing a detailed account of the premises’ condition before the lease starts. This means that any existing defects (as well as their repair costs) will be identified before the lease is signed. This guarantees a limit on a tenant’s liability for those repairs, and helps make clear the tenant and landlord’s responsibility to repair.

Schedules of Condition may also be used near the end of a lease. In these cases, they can help to establish responsibility for any dilapidations claim, repairing terms and reinstatement between the parties.

What Should Be Included?

There is no specific legal guide as to what a Schedule of Condition should contain.

Pedestrian walking in front of street shops

When preparing Schedules of Condition, some important elements to include are:

  • A clear statement about the purpose of the Schedule
  • A record of any pre-existing issues and their extent
  • Technical drawings
  • Clear details regarding the location and extent of the property and premises
  • A general description of the premises construction
  • Clear definitions of terms used to describe conditions in the property.
  • A clear statement of the time of the inspection, as well as what the date was, and weather condition
  • Photographs (these are some of the most important materials to be included). Videos as well as panoramas and drone footage can also be helpful
  • A written record of the location, nature and condition of each item inspected (inside and out)
  • Details regarding any specific tests taken on the property (for example, damp testing)

The Importance Of Photographs And Text

One of the most important parts of a Schedule of Condition is the photographic record.

Busy Store Front Sidewalk View

Photos must be clear in their depiction of the property. If a landlord, for example, is claiming that there are issues with the property, but photos taken beforehand are unclear in showing the actual state of the property then their value will be limited.

Photos alone are of limited value and use. Dilapsolutions has encountered several cases in which a property owner has taken plenty of photos of their building but have failed to provide descriptions. This means that only part of the issues are known, and other problems are in effect hidden.

The proper and combined use of both Photos and Text can give much greater weight to a Schedule of Condition.

How Does Dilapsolutions Deal With Schedules Of Condition?

Dilapsolutions’ expert chartered surveyor team is made up of professionals who can provide a full Schedule of Condition service, including:

  • Performing a full and thorough inspection of the building
  • Our chartered surveyors can provide a condition survey of all accessible areas of the property
  • Our chartered surveyors will document the property using photographs combined with text descriptions – vital when preparing a robust Schedule of Condition

Our sister chartered surveying consultancy Raeburn Consulting specialises in negotiating lease terms for commercial and leisure properties throughout the UK and ROI. This allows us to effectively manage your exposure to excessive repairing liabilities not only by conducting thorough surveys, including high-quality Schedule of Condition (SoC) reports, but also by utilising other tools to exclude certain elements altogether, ensuring that you are protected from unexpected costs.

It's important to note that in England & Wales, the standard repairs clause wording in a lease requiring tenants ‘to keep’ the property in good and substantial repair is interpreted at law to mean that if you take on a property in poor condition, you are then responsible for returning it at the end of the lease in better condition. This means that as a tenant, you may be required to invest time and resources into maintaining and improving the property throughout your occupancy. This legal interpretation can have significant implications for tenants. Therefore, before entering into any lease agreement, it is strongly advised to obtain a surveyor’s report.

While a well-structured schedule of condition can help mitigate this unjust exposure to some extent, it is not a cure-all solution. Please read the article which, in short, explains that the apparent protection afforded by qualifying the tenant repairs lease clause to ‘not having to hand back in any better (or no worse) condition than evidenced by the attached SoC’ often fails in practice for elements of a property which inexorably deteriorate in any event. For instance, what the Schedule of Condition shows to be a one-third rotted window sill at lease commencement, ends up being 50% rotted by the end of the lease. As it is impossible to fix just the rot which occurred during your lease so as to meet your contractual obligation, the position at law is that you then have to replace the whole sill (or window) in order to comply. Imagine a similar scenario with a more significant item such as the entire warehouse roof (inexorably advancing cut-edge corrosion)!

So we not only identify building defects & disrepair before you sign a lease, we advise on the most effective solutions to limit your obligations going forwards which include, but are not limited to, Schedules of Condition.

Get In Touch

Regardless of whether you require a chartered building surveyor to identify and cost required reparations or a chartered valuation surveyor to assess to what extent (if any) the breaches impact the property’s freehold value, you can rely on us to provide the most reliable property expert witness personnel.

We have built a reputation for providing the highest calibre of both types of property expert dilapidations witness in dilapidations cases with the experience and qualifications to deliver the best possible outcome for your individual situation.

Dilapsolutions

Chartered Surveyors

We are the only dilapidations consultancy in the UK & Ireland that provides both Chartered Building and Valuation Surveyors, ensuring the best results for our clients.

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