Responsibilities of Landlords and Tenants

When acquire a commercial leasehold property, a legally binding contract known as a lease with the owner of the commercial property will be entered into.

The parties under commercial lease law are referred to as the landlord and the tenant. The lease lays down the responsibilities and obligations of both parties and these are known as covenants.

Common tenant covenants include paying service charge, keeping the interior of the property in good repair and not altering the structure. Common landlord covenants include insuring the property and affording the tenant quiet enjoyment of the property without interruption.

It is important for both parties to read the lease with extreme care because once it is signed the respective parties are bound under commercial lease law by all the clauses.

When taking on a commercial property lease it is important to understand the responsibilities for the repair and maintenance of the building that is being rented.

Tenants are typically responsible for internal repairs and maintenance. In some cases however they will also be responsible for external maintenance. This is more likely if there is a sole occupant of a building.

In multi-occupancy premises the landlord is more likely to carry out external repairs and maintain common parts. Ultimately, however, the division of maintenance responsibilities will be determined by what’s agreed in the lease. As a result it is important to check a lease carefully before it is signed.

It is particularly important, before signing a lease to check what the liability is with regard to repairs needing to be done.

Dilapidations
When signing a lease it is important to be clear on the repairs the landlord may require a tenant to pay for at the end of the agreement. This is known as dilapidations. This can often be a problem area.

For example a tenant may be responsible for reinstating the premises to its original condition. As a result it is important to get professional help from a chartered surveyor, who will record the state of the premises when the lease was taken on to prevent the landlord from making unjustified demands later on.

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