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 Full Repair and Insurance Leases (FRI Leases) 

Specialist lawyers for advice on risks and rewards of FRI leases.

A full repairing and insuring lease is a type of lease which places responsibility for the repair of the external, internal and structural format of the property with the tenant. In limited situations there are exceptions to this.
As the name suggests, one of the most important clauses in these types of leases is the one that relates to the responsibility for the repair of the property. This obligation rarely varies from tenant to tenant, and normally involves ensuring that the property is maintained to a ‘tenantable’ standard.

 Potential pitfalls with an FRI lease 

The problem with this type of lease is that irrespective of the cause of the damage to the property, the tenant will still be under an obligation to repair the property and disputes arise commonly as to whether the tenant has maintained the property in accordance with the lease terms. This is true even if the cause is due to negligence on the part of the landlord, or due to a problem which could not be foreseen either by the landlord or the tenant.

Normally the only exception where the tenant will avoid liability to repair the property is in a situation where the landlord has already insured against that risk. If damage is caused by this insured risk, then the tenant will not need to repair the property. The information relating to this will be found in the buildings insurance policy.

The pitfall of signing up to an FRI lease is that you will constantly and continuously be responsible for the maintenance of he property and incurring regular and possibly high maintenance costs. Before agreeing an FRI lease be wary considered if it involves a situation where you are leasing a small office or shop in large building or where the premises you are leasing are part of an older building or which are not in good condition to begin with.

 What does it mean to keep the property in Tenantable condition? 

Ensuring the property is at the standard of a ‘tenantable’ condition is often a higher standard than what the court might deem is necessary, and therefore you are held to more stringent requirements when it comes to repairing and maintaining your property.

Get a Surveyor

If you are happy to enter into a full repairing and insuring lease, you should consider getting a surveyor in to the property in order to examine the state of the premises. With the consent of the landlord, you may then be able to incorporate into your contract a schedule of condition. This then provides a record of the condition of the premises at the beginning of the contract. You will also find out about any important structural defects or damage to the property that may need constant repair before you enter into the lease, so you will be better informed as to whether you want to go ahead with the signing of the contract.

Maintenance of structure and roof

As a tenant, one of your biggest concerns with an FRI lease will probably be the maintenance and repair of the roof of the property, as this can often be quite a costly and time consuming procedure to be involved in. If a surveyor has examined the property, they will have examined the roof themselves, and so you will be able to get information on the structure of the roof and its durability should you have had any concerns previously.

It is important to ensure you are aware of all the potential costs you could incur when you lease a new property. One of the most important of these is how much you will have to spend on maintenance and repair, particularly if you are signing a full repairing and insuring lease, as this obligation will lie with you. It is therefore advisable that you are knowledgeable of all the terms in your lease, and should you have any queries, it is best to contact a professional.

 If you need a solicitor, whether in London or further afield, to either draft or advise on a full repair and insure lease, whether you are Landlord or Tenant, do get in touch. This is an area of law and a service where we are very experienced.