Estates Management Records UK

Description of Business Function

The function of managing organisation’s buildings and land estate, including construction, development and refurbishment and property legal records for occupancy, acquisition or disposal.

Basis of Retention and Disposition

The keeping of estates management and property legal records is based evidential value (including various time limits for limitation of legal action) and business need to refer to building plans, terms and conditions etc. Records are held for a lengthy period after the end of the life of property ownership or occupation (if not transferred to the new owner) to reflect evidential and historical value and practical business need to refer to plans and other records. Those with historical value would be transferred to a relevant archive.

A full record of a building’s structure, plant and services is essential in order to plan accurately for its future care and to enable organisations to fulfil their legal obligations and liabilities. The maintenance of records is also essential to ensure that organisations retain the evidence necessary to develop effective defences against unwarranted claims.

15 years based on the long stop for latent damage for actions relating to property, Limitation Act 1980, c. 58, s. 14B, exceeding the 12 year limitation period for a speciality contract executed as a deed under Limitation Act, 1980, c 58 s 8; or in Scotland the 20 year long negative prescription period The Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973.

Legal records relating to occupancy, acquisition or sale are also retained in line with the long stop limitation period for latent damage for actions relating to property.

Please also see the CCTV Records page of the wiki.

Retention Rules Per Record Type

Record Type Minimum Retention Period Rationale
Archaeological records Life of property + 15 years (20 years in Scotland) or transfer to new owner 15 years long stop within the Limitation Act 1980 (c. 58, s. 14B) for latent damage for actions relating to property or The Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973
Bills of quantity Life of property + 15 years (20 years in Scotland) or transfer to new owner 15 years long stop within the Limitation Act 1980 (c. 58, s. 14B) for latent damage for actions relating to property or The Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973
CAD records Life of property + 15 years (20 years in Scotland) or transfer to new owner 15 years long stop within the Limitation Act 1980 (c. 58, s. 14B) for latent damage for actions relating to property or The Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973
Completion Statements and Certificates Life of property + 15 years (20 years in Scotland) or transfer to new owner 15 years long stop within the Limitation Act 1980 (c. 58, s. 14B) for latent damage for actions relating to property or The Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973
Condition Surveys Life of property + 15 years (20 years in Scotland) or transfer to new owner 15 years long stop within the Limitation Act 1980 (c. 58, s. 14B) for latent damage for actions relating to property or The Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973
Conservation matters Life of property + 15 years (20 years in Scotland) or transfer to new owner 15 years long stop within the Limitation Act 1980 (c. 58, s. 14B) for latent damage for actions relating to property or The Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973
Construction project records Life of property + 15 years (20 years in Scotland) or transfer to new owner 15 years long stop within the Limitation Act 1980 (c. 58, s. 14B) for latent damage for actions relating to property or The Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973
Contractor agreements (successful) Life of property + 15 years (20 years in Scotland) or transfer to new owner 15 years long stop within the Limitation Act 1980 (c. 58, s. 14B) for latent damage for actions relating to property or The Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973
Design and feasibility Life of property + 15 years (20 years in Scotland) or transfer to new owner 15 years long stop within the Limitation Act 1980 (c. 58, s. 14B) for latent damage for actions relating to property or The Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973
Drawings Life of property + 15 years (20 years in Scotland) or transfer to new owner 15 years long stop within the Limitation Act 1980 (c. 58, s. 14B) for latent damage for actions relating to property or The Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973
Engineering records Life of property + 15 years (20 years in Scotland) or transfer to new owner 15 years long stop within the Limitation Act 1980 (c. 58, s. 14B) for latent damage for actions relating to property or The Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973
Easements Life of property + 40 years or transfer to new owner Limitation period for claims under the Prescription Act 1832
Fire precautions and services Life of property + 15 years (20 years in Scotland) or transfer to new owner 15 years long stop within the Limitation Act 1980 (c. 58, s. 14B) for latent damage for actions relating to property or The Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973
Mechanical and Electrical records Life of property + 15 years (20 years in Scotland) or transfer to new owner 15 years long stop within the Limitation Act 1980 (c. 58, s. 14B) for latent damage for actions relating to property or The Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973
Planning Consents and correspondence Life of property + 15 years (20 years in Scotland) or transfer to new owner 15 years long stop within the Limitation Act 1980 (c. 58, s. 14B) for latent damage for actions relating to property or The Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973
Project meeting minutes and papers Life of property + 15 years (20 years in Scotland) or transfer to new owner 15 years long stop within the Limitation Act 1980 (c. 58, s. 14B) for latent damage for actions relating to property or The Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973
Project planning records Life of property + 15 years (20 years in Scotland) or transfer to new owner 15 years long stop within the Limitation Act 1980 (c. 58, s. 14B) for latent damage for actions relating to property or The Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973
Refurbishment records Life of property + 15 years (20 years in Scotland) or transfer to new owner 15 years long stop within the Limitation Act 1980 (c. 58, s. 14B) for latent damage for actions relating to property or The Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973
Specifications Life of property + 15 years (20 years in Scotland) or transfer to new owner 15 years long stop within the Limitation Act 1980 (c. 58, s. 14B) for latent damage for actions relating to property or The Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973
Surveys and Inspections Life of property + 15 years (20 years in Scotland) or transfer to new owner 15 years long stop within the Limitation Act 1980 (c. 58, s. 14B) for latent damage for actions relating to property or The Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973
Tenders (successful) Life of property + 15 years (20 years in Scotland) or transfer to new owner 15 years long stop within the Limitation Act 1980 (c. 58, s. 14B) for latent damage for actions relating to property or The Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973
Acquisition records Completion of Transaction + 15 years (20 years in Scotland) or transfer to new owner 15 years long stop within the Limitation Act 1980 (c. 58, s. 14B) for latent damage for actions relating to property or The Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973
Disposal records Completion of Transaction + 15 years (20 years in Scotland) or transfer to new owner 15 years long stop within the Limitation Act 1980 (c. 58, s. 14B) for latent damage for actions relating to property or The Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973
Deeds of title Life of property + 15 years (20 years in Scotland) or transfer to new owner 15 years long stop within the Limitation Act 1980 (c. 58, s. 14B) for latent damage for actions relating to property or The Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973
Leases Surrender, expiry or termination of lease or memoranda of terms + 15 years (20 years in Scotland) or transfer to new owner 15 years long stop within the Limitation Act 1980 (c. 58, s. 14B) for latent damage for actions relating to property or The Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973
Landlord and Tenant Notices or Court Papers Surrender, expiry or termination of lease or memoranda of terms + 15 years (20 years in Scotland) or transfer to new owner 15 years long stop within the Limitation Act 1980 (c. 58, s. 14B) for latent damage for actions relating to property or The Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973
Landlords’ consents Surrender, expiry or termination of lease or memoranda of terms + 15 years (20 years in Scotland) or transfer to new owner 15 years long stop within the Limitation Act 1980 (c. 58, s. 14B) for latent damage for actions relating to property or The Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973
Schedules of known tenant alterations Surrender, expiry or termination of lease or memoranda of terms + 15 years (20 years in Scotland) or transfer to new owner 15 years long stop within the Limitation Act 1980 (c. 58, s. 14B) for latent damage for actions relating to property or The Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973
Subletting agreements Surrender, expiry or termination of lease or memoranda of terms + 15 years (20 years in Scotland) or transfer to new owner 15 years long stop within the Limitation Act 1980 (c. 58, s. 14B) for latent damage for actions relating to property or The Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973
Tenant Correspondence (assorted – e.g. Break Notices, R&L Memos) Surrender, expiry or termination of lease or memoranda of terms + 15 years (20 years in Scotland) or transfer to new owner 15 years long stop within the Limitation Act 1980 (c. 58, s. 14B) for latent damage for actions relating to property or The Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973

Citations

Please also see Buildings records retention and disposal schedule published by The National Archives http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documents/information-management/sched_buildings.pdf

UK aside from Scotland:

Limitation Act 1980, s. 8, Time limit for actions on a specialty i.e. relating to contracts executed as a deed, “(1)An action upon a specialty shall not be brought after the expiration of twelve years from the date on which the cause of action accrued”.

Limitation Act 1980, c. 58, s. 14 (b) (1), Actions in respect of latent damage not involving personal injuries i.e. relating to property and work of contractors: “An action for damages for negligence, other than one to which section 11 of this Act applies, shall not be brought after the expiration of fifteen years from the date (or, if more than one, from the last of the dates) on which there occurred any act or omission— (a)which is alleged to constitute negligence; and (b)to which the damage in respect of which damages are claimed is alleged to be attributable (in whole or in part)”.

There are similar limitation periods within the The Limitation (Northern Ireland) Order 1989 – 6 years for a simple contract within section 4, and 12 years for an instrument under seal within section 15, and 15 years for Overriding time limit for negligence actions not involving personal injuries in section 12.

Within Scotland:

The Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973, SCHEDULE 1, Obligations Affected by Prescriptive Periods of Five Years under Section 6, “1Subject to paragraph 2 below, section 6 of this Act applies—S (a)to any obligation to pay a sum of money due in respect of a particular period— (i)by way of interest; (ii)by way of an instalment of an annuity; (iii)by way of feuduty or other periodical payment under a feu grant; (iv)by way of ground annual or other periodical payment under a contract of ground annual; (v)by way of rent or other periodical payment under a lease; (vi)by way of a periodical payment in respect of the occupancy or use of land, not being an obligation falling within any other provision of this sub-paragraph; (vii)by way of a periodical payment under a land obligation, not being an obligation falling within any other provision of this sub-paragraph;”

The Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973, “7 Extinction of obligations by prescriptive periods of twenty years. S(1)If, after the date when any obligation to which this section applies has become enforceable, the obligation has subsisted for a continuous period of twenty years— (a)without any relevant claim having been made in relation to the obligation, and (b)without the subsistence of the obligation having been relevantly acknowledged, then as from the expiration of that period the obligation shall be extinguished” “2)This section applies to an obligation of any kind (including an obligation to which section 6 of this Act applies), not being an obligation [to which section 22A of this Act applies or an obligation] specified in Schedule 3 to this Act as an imprescriptible obligation [or an obligation to make reparation in respect of personal injuries within the meaning of Part II of this Act or in respect of the death of any person as a result of such injuries.]”

Easements:

Prescription Act 1832 s. 2 In claims of right of way or other easement the periods to be twenty years and forty years, “No claim which may be lawfully made at the common law, by custom, prescription, or grant, to any way or other easement,or to any watercourse, or the use of any water, to be enjoyed or derived upon, over, or from any land or water of our said lord the King, or being parcel of the duchy of Lancaster or of the duchy of Cornwall, or being the property of any ecclesiastical or lay person, or body corporate, when such way or other matter as herein last before mentioned shall have been actually enjoyed by any person claiming right thereto without interruption for the full period of twenty years, shall be defeated or destroyed by showing only that such way or other matter was first enjoyed at any time prior to such period of twenty years, but nevertheless such claim may be defeated in any other way by which the same is now liable to be defeated; and where such way or other matter as herein last before mentioned shall have been so enjoyed as aforesaid for the full period of forty years, the right thereto shall be deemed absolute and indefeasible, unless it shall appear that the same was enjoyed by some consent or agreement expressly given or made for that purpose by deed or writing.”

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