DILAPIDATION, (from the Latin), the state of a build ing suffered to fall into a ruinous condition by neglect. The term is usually restricted, in its legal sense, to the pulling down or destroying the houses or buildings belonging to an ecclesiastical benefice, or suffering them by neglect to fall into ruin or decay. In the experience of every-day life, there are few families who have not had occasion to feel how much of annoyance, inconvenience, and loss may be hidden under the word dilapid«tions.
In the "Builder" of January, 1849, there appeared an excellent letter on this subject, and as it is evidently written by one well acquainted with it, we consider its insertion hero will be both interesting and useful :— " This subject," says the writer, "is one that has never received proper consideration from the hands of a large class who are interested and affected by it—' tenants.' Men who are daily imposing upon themselves heavy responsibilities, the extent, or the peculiar obligations, and the ultimate result of Odell they are totally unacquainted with.
" Few persons on taking a lease think of raising objections to covenants which are, they are informed, of the usual character ; or, if prudent enough to pledge themselves to an agreement of hut three years, they fearlessly, and without hesitation, affix their signatures to a clause promising to uphold, maintain, and sustain,' &c., or that which really mav turn out an impossibility ; for some houses, so to speak, have the elements of destruction and disease upon them from their infancy. Bad brickwork, causing by its humidity damp walls, rots everything ; unseasoned timber, that shrinks and t%%ists in all directions, throwing floors out of their level, and making settlements from top to bottom, through which the doors and windows have to be constantly eased and rehung; faulty and impellect drainage, which becomes constantly choked ; the roof acting like a sieve; and this list of ills that modern houses are heir to, is no exaggeration ; yet many a man, and he, too, who may be esteemed in his own business a prudent man, is induced, from a want of consideration, readily to promise to do and perform all needful and neces sary repairs. or at least to leave the house in tenantable
repair. It is not a little amusing to observe the tenant's sur prise at the end of his tenancy, on receiving a'notice of dila_ p , t• ns What ! he exclaims, and leave the house 100 per cent. better than %%hen I took it 1 This, and the various sum: of money paid to jobbing tradesmen, all the accounts of whom he can enumerate by heart, constitute the anchor of hope to the poor tenant, when informed, in spite of all the benefits the house has derived from him during his tenancy, that still such and such are dilapidations, and as such he is answerable for their being reinstated. In the present age, remarkable for the number of scantily-constructed houses, with so nice and clean, yet deceitful, an exterior, invitingly waiting for tenants on lease or agreement, it cannot fail to be useful to consider the nature of the obligation that exists between land lord and tenant upon the hire of house-property ; for as mis takes will happen in the best regulated families, so do the friendship and good understanding that may have existed between landlord and tenant suddenly cease with the termi nation of the lease. Covenants to repair, when once entered into are irrevocable; it is, therefore, most important that each party should clearly understand what constitutes repairs or dilapidations ; and as to all defects, whether they arise from accident, neglect, or decay, and by which party they arc to be made good.
" A landlord, on making a claim from his tenant for dila pidations, must show that they are such as were stipulated far in the lease. as the obligation on the part of the tenant to make good, varies, in nearly every case, according to the different covenants of the lease, by which the tenants are bound by more or less stringent clauses, involving greater or less responsibilities.