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In the absence of any express provisions in the lease limiting the period within which a dilapidations claim may be made, if the lease has been executed as a deed, the limitation period for bringing a claim will be 12 years (Limitation Act 1980, s 8). See Practice Note: Limitation Act 1980—the principal limitation periods.
Note that it is a common tenant amendment in leases to provide that the landlord may only recover its costs of preparing the schedule if it is served within a specified period from expiry of the lease.
Please see below regarding the costs of any dilapidations proceedings (ie those costs incurred from the point of issue and service of proceedings onwards).
However, the Dilapidations Protocol (which was formally adopted under the Civil Procedure Rules 1998), recommends at para 3.3 that:
“Schedules should be sent within a reasonable time. What is reasonable will vary from case to case but will generally be within 56 days of termination of the tenancy.”
As per Practice Note: Dilapidations claims at the end of the term—Dilapidations Protocol and Procedure:
“Whilst the Protocol is not mandatory, the court will examine the reasons behind any failure to comply with it and use its discretion to make an adverse costs order where appropriate. Parties therefore need to be concerned about non-compliance with the Protocol.”
Accordingly, non-compliance with the Protocol in terms of
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