Commercial tenants: Everything you need to know about dilapidation assessment reports

Both tenants and landlords have a responsibility to ensure their property is well maintained throughout the length of their contract as part of any standard lease agreement.

However, at the end of the lease, the property is typically required to be returned in an agreed upon condition but the level of responsibility, for both the landlord and the tenant, will depend on the terms of the contract. This is where a dilapidation assessment report can be requested by either or both parties.

Understanding dilapidations

Dilapidations refer to the repairs or improvements required to bring a commercial property back to the pre-agreed condition when the lease began.

These obligations are typically outlined in the lease agreement and are the responsibility of the tenant.

Dilapidations can include anything from fixing structural issues to redecorating and reinstating alterations made during the lease term.

Tenant dilapidations assessment

It is crucial for tenants, particularly those with long term leases, to have a dilapidations assessment undertaken by a Chartered Building Surveyor so they can plan and budget for any property repairs or maintenance before the end of their lease.

A dilapidations assessment report identifies any damages or repair works that the tenant will be financially liable for ahead of the lease termination, ensuring transparency around the tenant’s responsibilities and preventing any hidden exit costs from arising.

Whilst not always anticipated, the landlord may issue the tenant with their own dilapidations report via a surveyor or solicitor. In some cases, the final costs can come as a bit of a shock.

Once this has been served, the tenant will then have a certain amount of time to respond to the landlords’ claims, which if their findings differ from the dilapidations assessment undertaken by the tenant – this is when negotiations over the level of claim start.

Reasons for getting a dilapidations assessment report as a tenant 

Clarity on Tenant Obligations: The terms of dilapidations can be complex and vary from lease to lease. A dilapidations assessment report provides clarity on what repairs and improvements are required, ensuring that tenants understand their obligations under the lease.

Accurate Assessment of Costs: Engaging a surveyor to prepare a dilapidations assessment report ensures that the costs associated with remedying any issues are accurately calculated. This prevents disputes and ensures fair and transparent negotiations between the landlord and tenant.

Protection from Overclaims: Without a professional assessment, landlords may sometimes overstate the extent of dilapidations, potentially leaving tenants to foot an unfairly high bill. A surveyor's report helps tenants verify the accuracy of the landlord's claims and prevents them from being taken advantage of.

Negotiating Power: Armed with a comprehensive assessment report, tenants can enter into negotiations with landlords on more equal footing. Tenants can use the report to negotiate for fairer terms, potentially saving them money in the process.

Planning and Budgeting: Knowing the extent of required repairs and improvements in advance allows tenants to plan and budget accordingly. This can be crucial for businesses to manage their finances and avoid unexpected expenses.

Compliance with Lease Terms: Failure to address dilapidations can result in legal consequences and financial penalties. Having a dilapidations assessment report helps tenants comply with the lease terms and avoid potential legal disputes.

Risk Mitigation: A dilapidations assessment report also serves as a valuable risk management tool. By addressing issues proactively, tenants can prevent further deterioration of the property and reduce the risk of costly legal disputes down the road.

How a Chartered Building Surveyor can help

Understanding and addressing dilapidations is essential. Commercial tenants should consider obtaining a dilapidations assessment report from a Chartered Building Surveyor to protect their interests, ensure fair negotiations, and maintain compliance with lease terms.

Such reports provide clarity, accurate cost assessments, and a strong negotiating position, ultimately benefiting tenants by helping them avoid unexpected expenses and potential legal conflicts.

By taking this proactive step, tenants can leave their leased properties in good condition and maintain positive relationships with their landlords.

Who are we?

Our team of Chartered Building Surveyors work closely with estate agents, landlords, lenders and local authorities across London and the South Coast to proactively navigate a changing horizon. From ensuring new projects are delivered on time and in budget, to delivering upgrades on behalf of councils.

Read more about our solutions here:

Reinstatement Cost Assessments

Technical due diligence

Project management

Dilapidations consulting

Cost management

Monitoring Surveying

Party Wall

Contract Administration

Planned Preventative Maintenance

Alternatively, email us at or call our Southampton team on 02380 014786 or London at 020 3143 2128.

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