When entering into a commercial lease landlords and tenants need to know what their obligations are in relation to repairing and maintaining the property both during and at the end of the lease. The vast majority of commercial leases require the tenant to return the property back to the landlord in good condition.

This is where the schedule of condition comes in. It should not be overlooked as this important document will potentially save you thousands and in some cases tens of thousands of pounds at the end of your lease.

Chartered Building Surveyors can offer professional advice and put together a detailed schedule recording the condition of the property before lease commencement. A few photographs or a report prepared by a lay person will not be sufficiently detailed to protect the parties' interests. A Chartered Building Surveyor who is experienced in negotiating dilapidations claims is best placed to prepare a Schedule of Condition as it will be a tool that will be used at the lease end. The correct emphasis should be placed on reporting the condition of the critical elements of the property in the context of the repairing obligations within the lease terms. Investing in a proper schedule of condition will also reduce the time and money spent negotiating dilapidations at the end of a lease.

Once a schedule of condition has been prepared a qualified building surveyor can also advise on the extent of repairs anticipated during the length of the lease and the likely costs associated with these repairs. Without this information the tenant cannot fully appreciate the true cost of the lease, it will also help them to strategise property maintenance for the duration of the lease. The prepared schedule will be attached to the lease prior to signing and will be referred to at lease expiry. Not only do tenants benefit from this, but landlords too; as it means that any monies owed or works required due to the repairing obligations are quickly finalised, allowing the landlord to go about finding a new tenant without undue delays.
There are many ways to save money when leasing commercial property, but cutting back on a schedule of condition survey should not be one of them. A good schedule of condition will pay dividends at the end of your lease.

Article by Richard Farrey of Silverstone Building Consultancy.

Contact Silverstone on 0191 231 4263.

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