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.
- Breach of contract
- Trade disputes
- On-line traders
- Supply of defective goods/services
- Claims under personal guarantees
- Debt & asset recovery
- Ownership disputes
- Development disputes
- Option agreements
- Boundary disputes
- Adverse possession
- Rights of way
- Enforcing securities
- Restrictions & encumbrances
- Land Registry applications
- Property/estate management
- Service charges
- Payment/certification disputes
- Building defects
- Sub-contractor disputes
- JCT, NEC, RIBA & similar design/build agreements
Landlord & Tenant disputes
- Rent arrears
- Guarantor’s liability
- Recovering possession
- Protected lease renewals
- Breach of covenant
- Disrepair claims
- Unlawful assignment/sub-letting
- Break clauses
- Rent reviews
- Administrators & receivers
- Recovery of recruitment fees
- Disputed cause of introduction
- Candidate suitability
- Dual introducers
- Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003
- Ownership and transfers of equity
- Unfair prejudice claims
- Derivative actions
- Partnership dissolution & winding up
- Bank mis-selling
- SWAPS/LIBOR claims
Protection of Intellectual Property rights
- Domain name disputes/cyber squatting
- Passing off
- Breach of confidentiality
- Copyright and trademark infringement
Making a claim for negligent advice
The client asked us to consider and advise on the conduct of their former solicitors during both of the cases. We careful analysed many files and documents, including the former solicitors’ files, and concluded that the client had a claim.
We pursued the solicitors for negligent advice and handling of the cases, with a view to recovering our client’s losses. This involved extensive dealings with the firm, through their professional indemnity insurers and city lawyers.
They refused to pay the claim, despite being provided with considerable supporting evidence and legal argument during various attempts to negotiate and settle the dispute.
Pursuing the professional negligence case in the High Court
We started High Court proceedings, which the former solicitors defended by denying the allegations and raising a number of technical legal points.
Ultimately we exerted sufficient pressure in the litigation to force a settlement before the case reached trial, resulting in our client recovering a six-figure sum. This represented the vast majority of all legal costs they had paid, as well as Verisona Law’s legal fees.
Individual Property Owner
“Verisona Law dealt with a complicated dispute with a former manufacturing supplier forced into administrative receivership. Their clear, calm advice never wavered: their tenacity and diligence provided our company with a successful result”.
MD of Textile Wholesaler
"Having recently used Verisona Law to help recover a commercial debt due to us, I would highly recommend them. Jeremy was very professional and helpful, giving information throughout the case, and he was also very calm which really helped us."
"I would like to thank you for the first class service we have received from you. Your advice and the professional way you treated us throughout culminated in a result which, prior to your appointment, seemed a long way away."