Last edited 14 Sep 2016

Dilapidations protocol

Dilapidations are breaches of leases due to the condition of the property being leased, either during or at the end of the lease period. This may result from mistreatment of the property or poor or absent maintenance or repairs that are required by the lease. Further work may also be required at the end of a lease to reinstate alterations that have been made to the property by the tenant.

Dilapidations are a common cause of dispute and if the parties fail to reach agreement, disputes may come before the courts.

The ‘dilapidations protocol’ (The ‘Pre-Action Protocol for Claims for Damages in Relation to the Physical State of Commercial Property at Termination of a Tenancy’) is a pre-action protocol for commercial property available from the Ministry of Justice.

The first edition of the dilapidations protocol, was introduced in 2002 by the Property Litigation Association (PLA), endorsed by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The Civil Procedure Rule Committee agreed that it should be adopted under the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) in 2011 and it came into force on 1 January 2012.

It describes the conduct the court expects the parties to follow before commencing proceedings in relation to a dilapidations claim. It sets out a process and timetable for the exchange of information, and establishes standards for the content and quality of schedules of dilapidations and quantified demands.

The Ministry of Justice states that, ‘Where the court considers non-compliance, and the sanctions to impose where it has occurred, it will, amongst other things, be concerned about whether the parties have complied in substance with the relevant principles and requirements and is not likely to be concerned with minor or technical shortcomings’.

The Ministry of Justice state that the objectives of the dilapidations protocol are to:

  • Encourage the exchange of early and full information about the dispute.
  • Enable the parties to avoid litigation by agreeing a settlement before proceedings are commenced.
  • Support the efficient management of proceedings where litigation cannot be avoided.

There is a separate Pre-Action Protocol for Housing Disrepair cases.

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