Dilapidations: What can go wrong: avoiding the pitfalls 

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Speaker(s): Michael Watson
CPD Time: 1 hour
Duration: 1 hour
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This video has been produced via Zoom in light of the Coronavirus restrictions

This talk will focus on how surveyors dealing with terminal dilapidations claims should address them from the outset. Of all dilapidations disputes, terminal dilapidations claims are by far the commonest. All dilapidations disputes are contractual claims for damages but whilst this means that they must always begin with what the contract (i.e. the lease) says, the main problems in practice relate to the assessment of damages. This session will examine the correct approach to a terminal dilapidations claim including:

  • Principles of contractual interpretation
  • Common forms of tenant’s repairing obligation and what they mean in practice
  • The starting point for assessing loss (i.e. whether the claim is commercially worth pursuing)
  • The Pre Action Protocol
  • Part 36 Offers

Learning Objectives

  • To consider the fundamental elements of “Dilapidations” as a claim for damages for breach of contract
  • To look at the roll of the surveyor in a claim for damages
  • To consider the importance of evidence in claims for damages
  • To Look at the tactics and strategy in relation to costs and shifting risk



Michael Watson is a solicitor who has specialised in property related litigation and risk management for the majority of his legal career.

Having previously worked for a number of national practices, Michael now heads the Property Litigation team at Shulmans LLP Solicitors in Leeds.  He has served on the Steering Group of the RICS Dilapidations Forum in the recent past and previously spoken at the Forum National Conference.  He regularly presents continuing professional development training seminars for RICS members throughout the country and also sits on the judging panel of the RICS Pro Yorkshire Awards.

Michael is a strong advocate of a proactive approach to the management of the risks associated with the ownership and occupation of property and this is very much reflected in his approach to dilapidations related issues whether acting for landlords or tenants.

Michael acts for a broad range of property clients throughout the country and in addition to his work in relation to property related disputes and risk management generally, he also specialises in issues relating to telecommunications masts and in particular mobile phone networks.  Out of the office he is an officer in the Territorial Army, a Councillor, a motorcyclist and a bee keeper.


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