Whether or not a tenant has breached their repair covenant is one of the more common bones of contention between landlords and tenants.
Typically this occurs at the expiry of the lease, when the landlord’s priority is to sell or re-let the property as quickly as possible; or as the result of a routine inspection.
The most important document in this scenario is the lease, which will detail the tenant’s responsibilities for repair and possibly some of the remedies available to the landlord.
Whichever side of the fence you are on in a dispute, it is important to take professional advice early and make sure you fully understand your rights and responsibilities under the lease.
You should also comply with the ‘Protocol’, which lays down guidelines for resolving dilapidation disputes. If you fail to do so the court may award costs against you or throw the case out.
As a landlord you must also make realistic and well-supported damage claims.
What a landlord can do
- Claim damages;
- Apply for a specific performance order, compelling the tenant to fulfil his or her obligations under the lease;
- Forfeit the lease and repossess the property in some circumstances – but only if there is a specific right of re-entry in the lease and the breach is sufficiently serious;
- Carry out the repairs and recover the cost from the tenant, but be aware of your duty to minimise any loss.
This is a technical area of law and the circumstances of every case will be different.
It is important to take advice as early as possible to protect your position, especially if you are considering forfeiture, which is easily waived.
Robert has a broad commercial practice and has handled thousands of disputes relating to many commercial activities and industry sectors. He has acted in claims ranging from a few thousand pounds to several million, including cases where the commercial implications of the dispute carry a greater value than the dispute itself.
Applying negotiation, mediation and litigation as appropriate, Robert is well-known for his tenacious yet pragmatic approach to getting the best results for clients, while managing the risks and costs.
Robert Joined Gray Purdue in 2000, initially on a secondment from a client company. The opportunity to bridge the gap between lawyer and client gave Robert an insight into settling disputes and he seized the opportunity to join the firm full-time and progress through a series of qualifications whilst managing a diverse caseload of disputes, culminating in his admission as a solicitor.
After Gray Purdue merged with another firm to form Verisona Law in 2008, Robert relocated to the firm's Lakeside office and developed the firm's Commercial Dispute Resolution practice. In 2013 Robert was appointed as a director of the firm and now heads the Commercial Dispute Resolution team and oversees the various litigation teams across the firm.
Protecting and preserving business interests:
- Enforcing, terminating and recovery under contracts and agreements
- resolving disputes including contractual obligations and statutory or commonlaw duties duties
- Protecting brands, Intellectual Property and goodwill
- Protecting confidential information and trade secrets
- Protecting online and digital activities
- Recovery of money, property and assets
- Urgent relief including court applications, injunctions, freezing orders and search orders
- Mediation, arbitration and alternative dispute resolution
- Including bringing and defending claims against:
- Accountants, and
for breach of professional, fiduciary and statutory duties.
Land and Property:
- Boundary disputes
- Dilapidations claims
- Actions against trespassers
- Forfeiture of leases and recovery of property
- Recovery by distraint
- Pursuing and defending claims on behalf of and against Liquidators and Administrators
- Strategic advice on merits, legal and tactical issues
- Asset tracing and recovery
- Claims against directors