What is the appropriate standard of repair?
What is the appropriate standard of repair?

The following Property practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • What is the appropriate standard of repair?
  • How relevant is the original state and condition?
  • Does a property with a high level of rent attract a higher standard of repair?
  • Is the tenant responsible for inherent or latent defects?
  • Is 'repair' the same as 'good condition'?
  • Is there an exception for fair wear and tear?
  • Who is responsible for decoration?
  • What must the tenant do to comply with its repairing obligation?
  • Repairs or replacement

Unless there is clear wording to the contrary (eg a schedule of condition), a covenant to repair requires the tenant to undertake work that, having regard to the age, character and locality of the property, would make it reasonably fit for occupation by a reasonably minded incoming tenant of the class who would be likely to take it, taking a lease on the same terms as the actual lease.

A covenant 'well and substantially to repair' does not require the tenant to put the property into perfect repair or pristine condition, but to a standard which an intending occupier of the sort of building in question would judge reasonable, by reference to the intended use of the premises. The test is objective.

How relevant is the original state and condition?

Unless there is clear evidence to the contrary, the standard of repair is assessed by reference to the circumstances, including the state of the property, at the start of the term. In general, a change in the class of tenants likely to require the property, or in the quality of the neighbourhood during the term of the lease, does not impact on the standard of repair required. However, it may have an impact on the damages awarded for a breach of the covenant.

Therefore, an identically worded repairing covenant in an underlease (as opposed to a covenant

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