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Tim has considerable experience in real estate disputes both in relation to actual litigation and, more frequently, working with clients to manage their portfolios and avoid disputes. His experience includes all landlord and tenant matters, as well as real property matters such as easements, nuisance and restrictive covenants.
Tim has a national profile in the field of dilapidations, having acted on two of the biggest cases of recent years:
Other highlights include:
"Tim Rayner is an "excellent property lawyer" who "always thinks two steps ahead." He has a healthy practice encompassing boundary disputes, repair notices and lease renewal conflicts." – Chambers & Partners, 2018
"Names to note include Tim Rayner, who specialises in dilapidations and contested lease renewals" – Legal 500, 2018
“From a landlord’s perspective, the more subtle impact of the intention to do only what is needed to relet is that there is likely to be a greater overlap between the works actually undertaken and the works the tenant should have done in compliance with its lease obligations.
“That closer link between the costs of works and the tenant’s lease obligations may further encourage landlords to pursue their claims, especially if those costs have already been incurred.
“For tenants, that closer alignment between the works the tenant should have done and the landlord’s intentions means that the so-called ‘cap’ on damages imposed by section 18 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1927 could be far less relevant. The claim may turn only on the common law assessment, with arguments about the extent of the disrepair, method of repair and reasonable costs being at the forefront. In effect, the landlord’s claim may actually be more difficult to defend.”
“There is no doubt that this is a tenant-friendly decision. However the full implications for landlords will not be known until its precedent filters into County Court decisions. It is my view that there may in fact be limited circumstances where a landlord is so open about its contrived scheme or where there is admitted to be no wider commercial benefit of the qualifying works. Therefore the additional complexity and expense alluded to by Lord Briggs may not be as widespread as some commentators might lead us to believe.”
"In a dilapidations context, it is perhaps rare that a tenant would apply to the court for clarity as to the required remedial works prior to having carried those works and before lease expiry. Certainly this case demonstrates the significant hurdles a tenant would have to overcome if it did seek clarity from the court in those circumstances.
"The more common (and far cheaper) approach a well-advised tenant would normally take would be to undertake the works it believes will discharge its obligations prior to lease expiry and/or alternatively make a well-pitched offer to the landlord to try and cover off the cost risk of a potential terminal dilapidations claim.
"However, applying for declaratory relief is often seen as a possible route for tenants in the context of break options, particularly where there are onerous pre-conditions relating to compliance with the dilapidations covenants. The commercial advantage of knowing in advance what works need to be done in those circumstances are obvious - the holding costs of a continuing lease where a break failed can be substantial. It is in this scenario where this case becomes particularly instructive.
"As a minimum, a well-advised tenant looking for that clarity would be prudent to have fixed its intention on the works which it believes are necessary to perform its obligations before coming to the court; better still, if there is any uncertainty as to precisely how those works will be undertaken (which there may well be) it could be necessary to have actually completed those works. If the landlord challenges that position then at least there is a genuine dispute which the court can interrogate through the adversarial trial process and it avoids the need for the court to supervise the tenant’s performance of its covenants.
"Given the likely need to have undertaken the works prior to coming to court (and the time needed to both bring the matter to court and undertake further works prior to the break date if ordered by the court), this case further highlights the importance for tenants to obtain early advice on dilapidations, particularly if those works are to be carried out in compliance with uncertain break conditions.
"If the break is conditional, we suggest obtaining advice at least 18-24 months before the break date. If professional advice is obtained late, a tenant risks limiting its potential options and ultimately increasing the risk of a failed break."
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