One of the most important financial obligations commercial tenants can face is the need to pay for dilapidations work. Here Thames Contracts, who specialise in high-end office design in North London and Hertfordshire, look at what areas it affects, and why we are the ideal people to call to restore a premises to its original condition.
Why Change Your Office Design?
Many businesses look to improve their premises when they move in to make it more suitable for their specific needs. For example, by adding additional work areas, creating breakout spaces, a canteen, etc. This can also mean redecorating walls in company ‘colours’ or adding branding in the form of company logos.
Often this is done by glass partitioning – a flexible way of creating different work (and relaxation) environments. At Thames we specialise in glass walls and partitions and have installed them in offices in Borehamwood, Enfield and the surrounding area.
Additional Coronavirus Reasons
The coronavirus pandemic has also created a need to reconfigure office spaces, with social distancing requirements being the biggest driver for this.
As a result, many desks were placed further apart and bio décor partitioning and office hygiene desk dividers (both of which Thames supply) were added to workstations. There was also a need to create wider and clearly signposted routes through the office, and hand sanitising stations were another common feature.
Many firms have been offering hybrid working, where employees work from home for part of the time, which reduced the need for desks and created additional space. However, now as employees begin to return, offices may need to be reconfigured again.
And many businesses have chosen to move out of their current premises completely and move to smaller offices or transition completely to home working, rather than renew their existing lease.
The End of the Lease – the Legal Position
At the end of a lease, the tenant usually has a duty of care to return the premises to its original condition. This applies regardless of whether the premises has been used for retail, office or industrial use. This can be hard if the tenant has actually made some improvements to the property, but it’s a legally binding requirement.
Specific items which may be restored or removed include:
- Partitions and partition walls
- Suspended ceilings
- Electrical work
- Plumbing repairs
- General decoration works
- Alterations to the floor
- Air conditioning units (which may need to be recommissioned)
- Any form of company branding
- Disposing of any waste that arises from any of the above work.
And remember, tenants may still be liable if the premises have deteriorated in any way during the period of their occupancy. However, there is something known as the Section 18 Cap of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1927, which puts a limit on what tenants can be expected to pay.
If, as a tenant, you are worried about what work needs doing, then there should normally be a Schedule of Dilapidations prepared by the landlord’s surveyor.
What to Do
Whether you are a landlord or tenant, the important thing with any dilapidations issue is not to leave it until the last minute (that is, near the end of the lease). The pandemic has taught all parties of the need for dialogue because of the uncertain financial situation which has affected everyone.
The last thing either side wants is a dispute over what needs doing and how much it will cost, which can be long and costly for both sides and leave the property unoccupied. So, agree early on what needs doing, and then call in the experts.
Office Design in North London and Hertfordshire from Thames Contracts
At Thames Contracts, we offer a quick and cost-effective dilapidations service for both tenants and landlords alike. We can also provide the appropriate certification if any of the electrical fittings need altering. For more information, call us on 020 8368 0045 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And remember, we provide a range of other services too, ranging from office fitouts and refurbishments, to work in the leisure sector, including clubs and bars for businesses across Hertfordshire and North London. To learn more, get in touch by clicking here.