Icon Surveyors will be considering what a Schedule of conditions for a New Residential Lease is and why it is important to make sure there is one in place.
What is a Schedule of Conditions for a New Residential Lease?
In the simplest of terms,
A Schedule of Conditions for a New Residential Lease is a document that provides written and photographic evidence of the condition of a property at the time of the granting of a new lease. This type of schedule of conditions is designed to ensure protection against any claim for future repairs and/or damage to the property.
A residential lease can be defined as a lease for a property considered as a dwelling. A dwelling in England and Wales is a self-contained unit of accommodation used by one or more households as a home.
The obligation to repair is usually a covenant found in the lease. An obligation to repair can be that of the landlords, the tenants, or both. The obligation to repair in a residential lease usually falls upon the landlord. This is particularly so if the landlord is a social housing provider, as was the case in Welsh v Greenwich London Borough Council 6 WLUK 716. In this case, the landlords’ failure to insulate the property caused significant mould and dampness, resulting in the tenant suffering loss and damage. The court held that the landlord's council had an obligation “to maintain the dwelling in good condition and repair." The landlords were thus liable for the damage and loss to the tenant and the costly repairs to the building.
What is included in a Schedule of Conditions?
As stated above, a Schedule of Conditions includes both written and photographic evidence. The written element describes all of the visual faults, including but not limited to, cracks, holes, subsidence, decorative damage (i.e. peeling wallpaper or paint), and/or dampness, etc. All of the written faults are backed up with either photographic or video evidence. Together, these documented pieces of evidence can provide a starting point for any future disputes relating to an obligation to repair or maintain a residential property. It can also be used to establish any causation relating to any damage.
For the above-stated reasons, Icon Surveyors would always advise any potential new residential leaseholder to include a Schedule of Conditions in a New Lease. This is particularly so for a lease that runs for a period of 7 years or more, or for a property that is in poor condition. The idea is to reduce any repair liabilities that may have been caused by a previous tenant and/or liabilities for future repairs resulting from latent defects.
Icon Surveyors are happy to provide free consultation on party wall matters to any building or adjoining owners who may be affected by the subject matter raised in this blog.