End of the lease - What is the property to be handed back?

By Trevor Dawson Chartered Surveyors

12 Oct 2018

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A recent case that we were involved in highlights some of the issues that can arise at the end of a lease. At the end of their occupation a tenant is required to hand back the property to the landlord. The question arose, “What is the property to be handed back?”

The landlord wanted the property handing back in an open plan state. However, was the landlord correct to require this? Had the property been sub-divided prior to the original lease or had it been sub-divided at a later date?

In the absence of a reference in the lease as to whether the alterations should be taken into account then the tenant would be in a strong position. The effect on the landlord would not be insignificant, because the landlord intended to re-let the property in an open plan state and, thus, would take out the sub-divisions. A landlord could not, therefore, require the tenant to put areas which were to be reinstated into a good condition, nor require redecoration of these areas, since any works that the tenant would do would be undone by the landlord’s later works.

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