When a commercial premise is being rented, both the landlord and tenant hold responsibility for certain things. Whilst trading in the space, you will need to know what is required of you legally when using the premises so that you can avoid any legal issues or misunderstandings with your landlord.
As a tenant, you will have some responsibilities by law and you will also have some that depend on what is in your lease agreement. There will also be commercial lease landlord responsibilities, so make sure you are clear on what is needed of you and what can be left to them to make sure that your time on the premises runs as smoothly as possible.
What exactly is a commercial lease?
A commercial lease is a legally binding contract that agrees the length of time for which you as a business will be permitted to use a commercial premise in exchange for payment to the landlord. When renting a commercial property, you are expected to be using the premises for commercial activity only. Commercial properties can include shops, restaurants or even offices.
The lease will also include the rights and responsibilities you have when using the building and the responsibilities of the commercial landlord that will count whilst you conduct your business there.
Some of the information you can expect to find in a commercial tenancy agreement can include:
- the type of property being let
- the address of the property
- the lease term and whether it is a fixed-term or not
- the lease renewal date
- break clause conditions
- the rent being charged and when it needs to be paid
- what type of business can be carried out in the property
- what will happen in the event of the tenant falling into rent arrears
- who is responsible for any improvements to the building or property damage
- what the provisions of the security deposit are
You must be happy with the landlord and tenant responsibilities for the commercial premises laid out in your lease, as once you have agreed to them by signing the contract, you must respect the terms to avoid any legal issues.
What are the responsibilities of a commercial landlord?
As a business owner, it’s important to know both the landlord and tenant’s responsibility for commercial premises what to expect from your landlord in terms of the safety and maintenance of the premises where you work.
Due to the fact that commercial leases can vary, landlord’s responsibilities can vary also. Therefore, to find out your landlord’s exact responsibilities you will need to check the terms and conditions of your commercial lease. Your landlord may have passed some of their responsibilities onto you as the tenant so be careful not to skip this step.
A commercial landlord is expected to take action and carry out certain safety checks and repairs. These could concern the management of gas, fire and electrical safety, protection from asbestos, keeping the premises in a good state of repair and making sure the property has a minimum energy performance rating of E. The landlord will also usually take out commercial property insurance and will provide financial security if the building is damaged.
It is important to check your commercial lease obligations and be aware of exactly what your landlord’s responsibilities are, so that if any issues regarding safety or maintenance crop up, you will know your rights as a tenant.
What are the responsibilities of a commercial tenant?
As the tenant of a commercial property, you and your business will be responsible for a number of things
. Primarily, it is the tenant’s responsibility to manage the upkeep of the property and the safety of the people that work there. Remember to check your lease to determine the specific landlord and tenant responsibilities for your commercial premises.
First of all, you must carry out a health and safety risk assessment of the property to identify and remove (or depending on your commercial lease, get your landlord to remove) any hazards from the workplace to do with fire, gas, electrics or asbestos. You are also responsible for providing a reasonable temperature, enough space, ventilation and lighting, toilets, washing facilities, drinking water and safe equipment for the people who work at the property.
As a commercial tenant, you are also sometimes responsible for certain maintenance and repairs issues called ‘dilapidations’, which will be stated in your commercial lease. In any case, you are expected to leave the property in the state it was found in when you first rented it.
After checking your lease, make sure to notify your landlord of any health and safety issues or maintenance issues that are their responsibility.
Before signing on the dotted line…
Get the advice of an experienced commercial property solicitor. They will ensure that all the appropriate checks are undertaken and ensure YOUR position is well protected. You counterparty to the lease is likely to take legal advice, so ensure you have a lawyer in your corner!
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You can get legal assistance from LawBite
If you’re worried about the landlord and tenant responsibilities for your commercial premises, or you believe your landlord is not respecting the terms of the lease, you may be looking for expert legal advice.
Here at LawBite, we believe that great legal advice is a fundamental right for SMEs. With LawBite, you will have easy access to clear and affordable business legal advice. Book a free call with one of our friendly lawyers
, solicitors, or mediators and get the legal advice to help you with any issues regarding your commercial lease as quickly as possible.