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As a tenant, should you be concerned with building works carried out by a landlord before you enter a lease with them?

Let’s consider a typical scenario. You want to take a lease of two adjoining units, but you want to remove the dividing wall to give you a single open-plan premises. The landlord says, “no problem – I’ll remove the wall for you before you sign the lease”.

“Great” – you’re thinking. “I’ll just move in when the work’s done and that’s that”.

But are you missing something?

Well, yes.

Keep in mind that if you have a typical ‘full repairing’ lease, the onus is firmly on you to keep the premises in good repair and condition. So, if the landlord did a poor job when removing the wall and a few months down the line the ceiling collapses – it falls on you (literally!) to fix the damage.

What should you do?

  1. An obvious point, but make sure you have a robust agreement in place which protects your position.
  1. Insist on warranties from the landlord’s contractors. The landlord should ensure that these are handed over to you before you enter the lease.
  1. Agree on a ‘rectification period’ with the landlord. Typically, this will be a period of 12 months from completion of the work. If anything goes wrong during this period, the landlord and/or their contractors should fix the problem.
  1. Exclude your liability for damage caused as a result of the landlord’s work.
  1. In some cases it may be better to get the work done yourself, using your own contractors, but with a financial contribution from the landlord (if they agree to this).

This post was edited by Shazan Miah. For more information, email blogs@gateleyuk.com.


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This blog is intended only as a synopsis of certain recent developments. If any matter referred to in this blog is sought to be relied upon, further advice should be obtained.