Cannot afford business dilapidations bill after lease ended

Cannot afford business dilapidations bill after lease endedWhen the term of a commercial lease comes to an end, both landlords and tenants must navigate a range of obligations, one of which is often the business dilapidations bill.

This bill refers to the costs associated with repairing, redecorating, or reinstating a commercial property to its original condition as specified in the lease agreement.

It serves as a crucial aspect of the post-lease process, ensuring that the property is returned to a state that meets the landlord’s expectations.

Understanding the intricacies of the business dilapidations bill is essential for both parties involved, as it can significantly impact their financial responsibilities and future business endeavors

Landlord disputes and concerns around dilapidations

Dilapidations are a difficult and contentious area of property law that can expose business owners to significant liabilities. The business lease should have specified your company’s maintenance and repair responsibilities for the tenancy if you have received a dilapidations charge that you are unable to pay.

A schedule of dilapidations could involve pricey structural maintenance as well as affordable minor repairs. The assumption is that the property will be returned to the landlord in excellent shape at the end of the lease, notwithstanding any heating, plumbing, or electrical faults that may emerge during the tenancy.

One sneaky feature of dilapidations is that if the prior renter didn’t make the required repairs, you could end up being responsible for problems that have already been recognised. These ought to be listed in the lease as existing before your company began using the property.

Before signing a business lease, it is strongly recommended to have the property properly surveyed to learn about any potential future liabilities. What should you do, though, if the landlord has now terminated the lease issued a sizeable dilapidations bill and you can’t pay?

Take professional dilapidations and insolvency advice

It’s crucial to follow professional advice and hire a surveyor of your choosing to evaluate the property and the landlord’s dilapidations bill. The surveyor might be able to reduce the final bill through negotiation.

It’s unclear that the landlord explored all conceivable cost possibilities, therefore it might be possible to lower the bill’s expenses while still hiring qualified craftsmen to finish the work to the required standard.

You should seek licenced insolvency help as soon as possible if you believe the dilapidations bill is unmanageable for your firm – whether it is in financial trouble or the bill is so onerous that it threatens the company’s survival.

What if you cannot afford the business dilapidations after your lease has ended?

  • Alternative finance

You might be able to cover the charges through other funding while also future-proofing your cash flow if the bill remains unaffordable after receiving the necessary professional advice and adopting any suggested actions.

Alternative financing options like factoring and invoice discounting offer a flexible supply of cash inputs to support your company’s future ability to handle both planned and unforeseen problems. Real Business Rescue can connect you with the best financiers for your situation because it has connections with alternative lenders around the UK.

  • Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA)

Company voluntary arrangements are helpful for businesses with several unsecured creditors since they restructure your business obligations to make them more manageable. If your company is eligible qualified, a CVA would allow you to carry on doing business without running the risk of the included creditors forcing you into liquidation.

You might be able to negotiate a CVA that includes the dilapidations cost so that you only pay a percentage of what your landlord is asking for. However, this is a matter to take into account because CVAs are only appropriate for businesses that are thought to be long-term viable.

What is involved in voluntary liquidation, which may be the only choice if your company can no longer be saved?

  • Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation (CVL)

A formal liquidation procedure known as a CVL, results in the complete shutdown of your business. This is a better choice than compulsory liquidation if there is no chance of business rescue because it can shield you from accusations of misbehaviour or improper trading.

It is crucial for company directors to keep in mind that by entering into a creditors’ voluntary liquidation, you are essentially shielding your creditors from further financial losses. During the procedure, the company’s assets are sold and creditors are paid a maximum dividend.

Frequently asked questions

What are dilapidations after lease expiry?

Dilapidations after a lease has expired are the damages and defects to a property that arise at the end of a lease which a tenant is legally obliged to put right under the terms of a lease. In simple terms dilapidations are about disrepair.

What is the time limit for dilapidations claims?

The time limit for dilapidations claims. by a landlord will technically have at least 6 years from the end of the lease to commence a dilapidations claim, the Dilapidations Protocol suggests that the Schedule of Dilapidations and Quantified Demand ought to be served within 56 days of the end of the lease.


In the face of financial difficulties and an inability to pay the dilapidations bill following the expiration of a commercial lease, seeking independent insolvency advice becomes paramount for business owners. The complexities surrounding insolvency require expert guidance to explore viable options, negotiate with landlords, and protect their business interests.

By consulting with professionals well-versed in insolvency matters, business owners can gain valuable insights, strategise their next steps, and potentially find alternative solutions to satisfy their obligations. To take the first step towards securing the necessary assistance, we encourage business owners to complete our online enquiry form today and begin their journey towards financial stability and resolution.

Remember, seeking independent insolvency advice can make all the difference in overcoming this challenging situation and safeguarding the future of your business.

Steve Jones Profile
Insolvency & Restructuring Expert at Business Insolvency Helpline

With over three decades of experience in the business and turnaround sector, Steve Jones is one of the founders of Business Insolvency Helpline. With specialist knowledge of Insolvency, Liquidations, Administration, Pre-packs, CVA, MVL, Restructuring Advice and Company investment.