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Newland & Newland v Dr Choudhry (2021) A dilapidations dispute

If you are served with a schedule of dilapidations do not panic APA of www.apaproperty.comcan provide you with expert professional advice and assistance on Landlord and Tenant disputes to ensure that you only have to pay what you are required to pay under the lease.  Immediately contact Dr. Philip Antino (Dr.Antino@apaproperty.com) if you are in receipt of a schedule of dilapidations and/or indeed if you are nearing the end of your (lease 6 even 12 months before the expiry) which is the ideal time to get APA involved.  Time is of the essence, use it wisely, and then Dr. Antino can manage and minimize your potential liability.

Newland & Newland were the freehold owners of a building subject to a lease for a medical practice operated by Dr. Choudhry.

In early 2021 3 months before the expiry of the lease, the landlord produced a schedule of dilapidations in the amount of £43,012.21 plus £150 legal costs.  Included within the purported schedule of dilapidations were various items that had not been costed and were to be assessed once the dilapidation works were undertaken, so there was an intention to increase the claim!!!!

It was an internal repairing lease for a small medical practice that had a waiting room, receptionist office, and 4 small surgeries, and 2 WC’s.

As one can imagine a surgery is kept in good condition throughout and therefore the tenants were surprised to have received the schedule.  The practice instructed Dr. Antino who immediately wrote to the landlords advising that they had effectively jumped the gun.  That the tenants were aware of their obligations to carry out repairs under the lease limited to any section 18(1) diminution cap and that the schedule of dilapidations was being rejected in its entirety.

The tenant had undertaken certain improvements, such as installing a burglar alarm, security grills to windows, which somewhat bizarrely the landlord wanted to be removed.  The landlord was offered an opportunity to purchase these improvements in full working condition for a nominal cost.  The landlord rejected the offer and simply wanted the items left free of charge.

On Dr. Antino’s advice, these were tenants’ fixtures and fittings and therefore could be removed to avoid the landlord demanding £910 + VAT for repainting the security grills.  This far outweighed the cost of removing the security grills, which was effectively done in the morning by a laborer at a cost of £125 + VAT.  It was therefore a very highly inflated element of the claim.

The landlord was also seeking a new Altro vinyl floor covering throughout the whole of the ground floor area, allegedly caused by the tenant.  This was estimated at a cost of £4,500 plus VAT.

Dr. Antino made inquiries with the practice manager and established that the Altro flooring had been damaged by the landlord’s contractors in January 2021 when accessing drains, another unjustified claim.

The WC servicing the public waiting area had fully tiled walls, these had been painted.  The landlord’s surveyor requested that all the painted tiles be removed, that the walls be replastered at a cost of £2,000 + VAT and retiled, claiming the painting of the tiles was an unauthorized alteration.  On inquiries, Dr. Antino identified that it was in fact the landlord who had painted the tiles in January after the drainage investigations.  The practice manager just assumed that the landlord was doing some general maintenance. 

The landlord’s surveyor was asked to demonstrate the diminution in value as a consequence of the alleged internal repairing obligations.  This could not be demonstrated.

Notwithstanding, Dr. Antino instructed contractors to carry out limited decorative repairs at a cost of those works were £6,850 plus VAT. 

On Dr. Antino’s advice, the schedule of dilapidations was inflated by £34,792.21 and included items that were not the tenants repairing liability.  On completion of the works the landlord’s surveyor was invited to inspect the property he was provided with the keys and advised that his fees in the majority would not be paid because he had (i) jumped the gun in the first instance, (ii) failed to identify diminution pursuant to section 18(1) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1927 and (ii) furthermore had included items that were not even within the tenants repairing obligations.

Undoubtedly another fantastic result for APA’s clients.

Judges Comments and Opinions regarding Dr. Antino

  • The party wall world is relatively small, the stage of this world contains a number of well-known players, Mr Antino is one of these well-known players and so are his owners instructing solicitor Mr Ashley Bean of Thirsk Winton

    HHJ Bailey - [2016]
  • The Claimants have a very experienced legal team comprising Mr David Mayall of lambchambers & Mr Ashley Bean of thirsK winton and their surveyro Dr. Philip Antino. The evidence in particular of the Defendant’s plans for both the Accessway and the plans and how it impacted upon the Claimants business was important information that The Defendants ahd not provided when requested.

    HHJ Freedland QC - [2021]
  • "Mr Antino is a palpable witness, Mr Antino's explanation of the unique attributes of the "Thompson Plan" greatly assisted the Court to understand the location and extent of the claimants’ boundaries” (Best & Best v Perkins & Dennis in the County Court at Luton).

    HHJ Hildyard - [2015]
  • The appeal was a preliminary hearing of two points in respect of an Award served by Mr Antino and a surveyor appointed by Mr Antino under s.10(4) on behalf of the Building Owners the Appellants. HHJ Luba QC sitting in the Central London County Court held "In my judgment the Award is valid, the use of s.10(4) was the appropriate procedure given the Building Owners refusal to appoint a surveyor. A dispute had arisen that satisfied s.10 procedures, The Award is an impressive piece of work". Schmid v Hulls and Athananasou).

    HHJ Luba QC - [2016]
  • “Mr Antino is an acknowledged expert in the field of party wall issues.”

    HHJ Murfitt QC 2013 - [2015]
  • “I have known Philip for many years as a surveyor, he is a very good surveyor, as this book shows he is a very good author and this book can only advance his reputation”

    HHJ Philip Bartle QC - [2012]
  • “In the appeal of an ex-parte Award served by Mr Antino on behalf of the respondents, in my judgment the respondent is correct. Mr Antino’s contention that it is not a matter for negotiation directly between one surveyor and the other surveyor’s client. Since I have determined that the ex-parte Award was valid the court is still able to determine the Award and under the statutory powers to modify the Award if appropriate. I am grateful to Mr Antino suggesting that I now determine the Award issue “I accept that Mr Antino’s hourly rate is not in my judgment unreasonable. It follows that the fee set out in the ex-parte Award had been properly justified and I therefore award Mr Antino’s fees”. (Bansal v Myers Romford County Court).

    HHJ Platt - [2007]

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