When you are renting a property, either residential or commercial, the landlord will have numerous responsibilities which they must uphold. However, the responsibilities of a commercial landlord will differ from that of a residential landlord. There is often confusion as to who is responsible for what, particularly in terms of legal health and safety requirements and insurance.
On occasion, legal responsibilities can overlap between the landlord and tenant. Due to this, it is important to be aware of what the landlord and tenant are responsible for before entering a contract.
What is a Commercial Property?
Firstly, it is important to establish what is classified as a commercial property. Commercial properties are those which are clearly owned for business reasons whereas residential properties are those which a person will live in as their home. These can come in a huge variety of sizes, shapes, uses and values from a high street shop to a large warehouse. Most aspects of the relationship between a commercial landlord and tenant will be contained within a written tenancy or lease agreement.
Commercial Property Insurance
It is vital that commercial landlords take out commercial property insurance as this will ensure the building is covered in numerous circumstances. These may include property owners’ liability, commercial building insurance and loss of rent. Ultimately, it is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that the property is adequately maintained. For example, if a third-party delivery driver falls at the entrance of your building, the landlord may be held responsible in a compensation case.
Additionally, if the property should become uninhabitable from an event such as a fire, the insurance will cover any rent payments. This means that the landlord will not lose out financially.
Maintenance and Repairs
When leasing a commercial property, it is important to understand who is responsible for the repair and maintenance of the building. Most commonly, tenants are responsible for internal repairs and maintenance. In some circumstances, they will also be responsible for external maintenance. This is more common if there is only one occupant in the building.
Ultimately, any maintenance responsibilities will be outlined in the rental lease. Due to this, it is important to thoroughly read and check the lease before you sign and agree to it. Additionally, some landlords may require their tenants to pay for some repairs at the end of the agreement. For example, the tenant may be responsible for reinstating the premises to its original conditions. This is known as dilapidations. Find out more about dilapidations here.
Health and Safety Responsibilities
There are several health and safety responsibilities which landlords will have for a commercial property. However, the tenant will also have some responsibilities; these will be outlined in the tenancy agreement.
It is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that any fixtures and fittings installed in the property are safe to use. This may include the correct installation of electrical equipment and in some cases, a safety certificate. If the tenant installs any fixtures or fittings themselves, they will be responsible for any maintenance.
In terms of gas and electricity, it is the tenant’s responsibility to maintain the equipment. This will include ensuring the property is inspected on a regular basis by a registered gas safe engineer and an electrical safety engineer. Additionally, if the tenant has installed any gas appliances or electrical items, they will be responsible for any maintenance.
The tenant will also be responsible for ensuring that the workplace meets a number of basic health and safety requirements. This may include:
- Providing drinking water
- Keeping the premises clean
- Ensure appropriate temperatures in the workplace
- Providing suitable sanitation and washing facilities
Ultimately, there are a lot of areas that should be considered when leasing a commercial property. At H McPartland & Sons, our experienced solicitors can provide you with advice and guidance if you plan on becoming a commercial landlord or renting a commercial property. Contact our offices today and find out how we can help you.