How Do The Civil Procedure Rules Affect
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The good old days
In years gone by (it does seem like many years ago now) when a Dilapidations Notice was served by a landlord on a tenant things were so different. By this we don't mean the case law, which of course as dilapidations is forever evolving where new cases will be always be changing we deal with matters forever more (or should we say in perpetuity), but we mean the way that surveyors, landlords and tenants and their solicitors dealt with the dilapidations claim. Back then landlords serving a dilapidations claim on a tenant saw it as the time when you would literally try and get back a brand new building for the old building that he had.
Interestingly, we have said the landlord tried to get it back, it was equally the landlord's surveyor and the landlords solicitor, it simply was the way the dilapidations were carried out way back then. There were also no real set procedures on how to deal with dilapidations for surveyors, whereas now there are the RICS Guidance Notes and of course the Civil Procedures Rules have affected many areas including dilapidations. Way back then the dilapidations claim used to come in a multitude of, shall we call them, different styles, and unless you were dealing with many dilapidation claims it wasn't that common to see a standardised format. This was before the computer age took hold.
Equally, with regard to schedules of condition there are all types of formats being carried out and also with the defending of dilapidations claims there are all sorts of, what we could best term as extreme negotiating going on.
Extreme negotiating on dilapidations
We couldn't think of a better phrase to sum it up, and likening it to the extreme sports that are sometimes seen, as claims from both sides, the landlord and the tenant, can be extreme to say the least.
The Red Book and RICS Guidance Notes brought some sanity
No doubt the introduction of the Red Book and the RICS Guidance Notes in the area of dilapidations add an impact on how dilapidations claims were made and defended, but for myself it wasn't until the introduction of the Civil Procedure Rules that things really changed.
At last the Civil Procedure Rules arrived
It was probably the increasing trend for court action in Britain that brought about the Civil Procedure Rules, which, to summarise, encourage both parties in a dispute to act reasonably and look for a solution rather than looking to the courts. Should not solution be found and the case gets to the courts the Civil Procedure Rules now allow the Judge discretion of awarding against either party where he feels they have been unreasonable in their actions.
What affects has the Civil Procedure Rules had in the real world on dilapidations?
The affect that we have seen working in the real world on dilapidations is that the claims made by landlords surveyors are now more reasonable and, thanks to the RICS Guidance Notes, they are in a standardised format, which means that should you get to the Scots Schedule stage (please see our article on Scots Schedules) the a court of law will be able to interpret the arguments for and against each case relatively easily. They will also be able to deal further with questioning and cross-examining to establish how closely the surveyors have followed the RICS Guidance Notes on dilapidations and the Civil Procedure protocol.
The courts are taking action
It is interesting with the debate that sometimes goes on where in general law politicians say the rules are in place, the police say they are enforceable and then when they get to court, for whatever reason, they do not seem to be enforced. However, with the Civil Procedures Rules we are pleased to see that courts are starting to enforce them. There have now been several cases where Judges have awarded against landlords surveyors that have been over zealous, should we say reckless and less than scrupulous! So, this can only be a good thing.
If you truly do want an independent expert opinion from a surveyor with regard to leases, dilapidations, schedules of condition, dilaps claims, scott schedules, commercial structural surveys, commercial building surveys, commercial property reports, structural reports, engineers reports, specific defects report, structural surveys, home buyers reports or any other property matters please contact 0800 298 5424 for a surveyor to give you a call back. If you have a commercial leasehold or freehold then you may wish to look at our Dilaps Website at www.DilapsHelp.com and for Disputes go to our Disputes Help site www.DisputesHelp.com. We hope you found the article of use and if you have any experiences that you feel should be added to this article that would benefit others, or you feel that some of the information that we have put is wrong then please do not hesitate to contact us (we are only human).
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