This term refers to any damage sustained by a property that has been let to a tenant, whereby the damage or loss is noted following check out at the end of the tenancy.
Dilapidations could refer to damage sustained to the property itself. For example, a door may have been damaged, a window smashed, a carpet ruined, or similar incidents. However, the term is also used to describe other negative occurrences noted once the tenancy is complete.
For example, an inventory is always taken prior to the tenancy starting. This would include all items of furniture in the property and all other items provided for the tenant. If a property is unfurnished, the inventory would still include items such as white goods. If any of these were found to be missing following completion of the tenancy, this would be noted on a list of dilapidations.
Other examples would be any case whereby re-decoration is required. This could mean wallpaper that has degraded or been damaged during the tenancy, or similar instances where one or more elements of the décor require redoing. In all cases, dilapidations relate to items where the landlord must meet unexpected costs to return the property to the condition it was in prior to the tenant moving in.
Disputes can occur if the tenant does not agree with the list of dilapidations. Since the list will incur costs for the outgoing tenant, it is not uncommon for the tenant to take issue with them. Most tenants will expect to get their deposit back, and the list could mean that won’t happen – with some tenants potentially incurring additional costs too, depending on the condition of the property.