Schedules of Conditions are often used when trying to limit the liability of a party to the lease or sale, but what exactly are they?
The Schedule of Conditions record, factually, the condition of a property at a particular date. They can be prepared for either Residential or Commercial properties.
They usually contain both a written statement of the Condition of the building and a photograph to contextualise this. They are used for a number of instances:
- In order to have any “status”, the lease should make reference to the Schedule of Conditions and it should be agreed by both parties to the lease, or someone authorised to act on their behalf.
- When used correctly, they can give a greater weight of argument should the state of repair be disputed (be it court action, adjudication, arbitration or mediation).
The Schedule of Conditions may be appointed by a tenant, lessor, neighbour, or owner of the property. They are usually drawn up (prepared) by one party and then agreed with the other party. They may also be prepared by an agreed independent expert to reduce costs, and this again may give it greater authority if there is a dispute.
If it is being attached to a lease, the lease should reference this and agree that both parties will be limited in their liability for the changes.
Leases are commonly drafted with either full repairing and insuring or internal repairing and insuring covenants. When preparing the lease your legal advisers should clearly define what constitutes “internal” and “external” parts and who is responsible for which elements of the building.
It is recommended that a Schedule of Condition is prepared at the commencement of the lease, as it may be difficult to protect against spurious claims. If prepared part way through the term, it is unlikely to have any legal authority.
For Party Walls works/ access issues, they should be prepared before any works commence.
It should describe the construction of the element and its condition. Services are not usually included in such a Schedule of Conditions as specialist reports are normally required in this respect.
If the Schedule of Conditions is prepared for Party Wall etc Act decision, then further considerations are stated in the Award. Further advice should be sought from a Party Wall Surveyor if that is the intention of the Schedule of Conditions.
The layout of the Schedule will normally include: –
- The purpose of the Schedule
- Details of the location and extent of the property included in the schedule
- Any restrictions on the inspection
- The date of inspection and the weather conditions at that time.
- A general brief description of the property.
- The purpose for which the schedule may be relied upon.
- Relevant drawings of the property, identifying rooms, elevations if these are applicable.
- Definitions of the terms used (for instance “minor” “severe”)
- Photographs (and sometimes a video)
Any specific tests that have been carried out and recommendations for any specific tests which may be needed (these are usually charged as an additional fee, agreed by the instructing parties)
Please call the team now on 0808 169 8881 to talk about your project and how we can help you.