Leasehold property can be a heavy liability on the unwary!
A lease is a contract that imposes numerous obligations on the parties involved, particularly the tenant, and it is essential that the scope of these is fully understood before signing on the dotted line.
Unfortunately, repairing covenants do not just relate to "dilapidations" that arise during the lease term but also to damage and disrepair that exists at the commencement of the term, even if caused by the previous tenant, and it is essential, therefore, to have a preliminary survey undertaken, to establish both the level of liability at the beginning of the term and the probable liability that will arise during the term.
With this information in hand the tenant will be better placed to negotiate a fairer deal with the landlord, perhaps by way of a cap on liability (or on the service charge if this is the means by which the landlord recoups his costs), or the agreement to attach a "Schedule of Condition" to the lease, to limit liability to only those dilapidations that arise during the lease term. Alternatively, the landlord may agree to undertake the necessary works of repair, or agree to a rent free period to cover the estimated value of the dilapidations.
In the event that a "Schedule of Dilapidations" has been served we are able to negotiate effectively on behalf of the tenant, to reduce the "settlement claim", following clearly established legal proceedures.
Of course, we are able also to prepare for landlords appropriate schedules for service on tenants and to offer comprehensive advice on tenants' performance in complying with their repairing obligations.