Real Estate Tip of the Week: Are you in good condition?
Published 21 September 2015
Tenants will often request a limit on liability for repair by reference to a photographic schedule of condition particularly where a building is older or there are known snagging issues with a new building.
Care should be taken to ensure that any schedule of condition provides clear evidence of the defects in question to avoid uncertainty about the extent of the tenant's liability.
Photographs alone can be difficult to interpret and should be accompanied by a detailed verbal description of the defects identified. It is a good idea for electronic copies of the photographs to be retained with the lease so they can be examined in detail at the relevant time if necessary.
If a restriction of the tenant's liability has been negotiated because of a specific defect this should be phrased so as to exclude liability for that specific defect as identified in the schedule of condition rather than by reference to the more commonly used statement that the tenant is not required to put the premises in any better state or repair than they were at the start of the lease as evidenced by a schedule of condition. The latter may give a tenant the opportunity to seek relaxation on a more general basis which could lead to dispute.