Book Reviews

Dilapidations and Service Charge Disputes: A Practical Guide

Publisher: Estates Gazette Books

Authors: Simon Edwards, Patrick Stell & Keith Firn

Price: 36.99

Edition: 1st Edition (October 2008)

ISBN: 978-0-7282-0554-3

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During the current economic climate, it is inevitable that dilapidations and service charge disputes will increase.  It is therefore fortuitous that Estates Gazette Books has published Dilapidations and Service Charge Disputes: A Practical Guide which aims to provide both a practical and accessible guide for surveyors, lawyers, estate managers, landlords and tenants.  To my mind, it achieves this aim with considerable ease.

Written by three experienced surveyors, one of whom was previously a lawyer, Dilapidations and Service Charge Disputes: A Practical Guide is essentially three books in one.  Firstly, it deals with the thorny issue of service charges and their obvious areas for dispute.  Secondly, it deals with dilapidations claims including the preparation and service of the schedule dilapidations and the relevant (and complex) legal issues.  Thirdly, it explains the advisors' role and the relevance of his or her likely role as an expert witness.  By separating the material in this way, the authors ensure the text is a handy and concise guide for all of its target readers.

Dilapidations and Service Charge Disputes: A Practical Guide is written in an accessible and engaging way.  Its style of fairly short paragraphs means that complex points can be quickly understood.  The reader's understanding is also aided by the flow charts (which are extremely useful) and a sample dilapidations schedule.  In future editions the authors may, however, consider improving the index (which is fairly limited) and the cross-referencing so points can be looked up quickly. 

For anyone looking for a straight-forward and accessible explanation of the key issues in dilapidation and service charge disputes, Dilapidations and Service Charge Disputes: A Practical Guide is a fantastic solution.  By explaining the key issues succinctly, the reader can quickly gain a feel for the topic and the issues.  Whilst some practitioners (particularly lawyers) may feel there is not enough reference to case law to support the authors' statements, it will be an extremely useful text whilst, at the same time, vital for more inexperienced practitioners.

Reviewed on 8 November 2008

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