Who is responsible for repairs?
This will depend on the terms of the lease you sign and so you should check it carefully. Where the tenant occupies the whole of the building it is often his/her responsibility but where the premises form part of a building, the landlord may be responsible for repairs and be able to recover the cost from the tenant.
Can a landlord serve an Interim Schedule of Dilapidations part way through the lease?
Yes, but only if the lease allows it. So read your lease very carefully and seek professional advice before you sign it or respond to the service of a schedule or notice.
What is my liability for dilapidations when I vacate?
This depends on the terms of your lease. Normally the landlord will serve a Terminal Schedule of Dilapidations setting out his claim. The maximum amount of your liability is the diminution or reduction in the value of the landlord’s interest in the property and therefore he/she may only claim for his/her actual loss, e.g. the cost of works, if it is lower than the diminution in value. If the landlord intends to demolish or carry out major works when you vacate he/she may not have a claim at all. This is a very specialised area of professional work and you should obtain expert advice as soon as possible.
Who is responsible for insurance?
This will depend on the terms of the lease you sign. Landlords are often responsible but the premiums are often recovered from the occupier.
What are the differences between an FRI lease and an IRI lease?
FRI stands for a Full Repairing and Insuring lease where the tenant has responsibility for all external and internal maintenance, decorations and repairs as well as the liability for insuring the building. Under an FRI lease the landlord has no repairing or insuring liability.
IRI stands for an Internal Repairing Insuring lease where the tenant will have a narrower liability for maintenance, decorations, repairs and insurance confined to the internal parts of the property occupied by him/her. In such cases it is wise to check that the landlord is liable for the repair and maintenance and insurance of the common parts and exterior of the building. In some cases the landlord may insure the whole of the building. The landlord’s costs, e.g. for insurance or maintenance may well be recoverable from the occupiers through a service charge and the arrangements will be contained in the lease. IRI leases are normally granted where buildings are in multiple occupation and tenants often have similar repairing liabilities etc for the part of the building occupied by them.
You are strongly advised to seek professional advice before committing yourself to any liability. Some repairing liabilities may result in the tenant having to repair existing defects.
Am I allowed to alter the premises?
Usually only with the landlord’s consent. But unless the lease says that you cannot carry out alterations, you can apply for permission to the court if you think he/she is unreasonably withholding consent.
What is the reasonable cost for obtaining the landlord’s consent to alterations under the lease?
See if a figure is mentioned in your lease. A landlord can only claim his/her reasonable actual costs and should not seek to make a profit from the request for consent.