As a landlord of commercial apartments, your job is to ensure well-maintained properties abide by health and safety standards and remain a pleasant place for people to live.
Often, however, certain responsibilities are shared between the landlord and the tenant. Whether commercial apartments should be maintained by landlords or tenants, is decided by law and the terms of the rental lease.
Taking responsibility for the safety of tenants in commercial apartments includes services such as maintaining the property, and servicing the safety equipment in place. Obligations as a landlord of commercial apartments will differ to those who run residential properties. Legally, there are some health and safety responsibilities you have, as the landlord, for a commercial property. However, depending on the situation, some tenants will take responsibility for all, or part, of a health and safety concern.
Similar to residential properties, any issue or fault with the building itself is the landlord’s responsibility. For example, if there is any structural failure or building obstructions, the landlord must solve these problems. General maintenance is necessary for commercial apartments to run smoothly.
Fitting Fixtures Safely
When you install fixtures and fittings in the property, accompanied by the required documentation, they must tick all the health and safety boxes. Including accurate installation.
If a tenant fits something themselves, this is something that generally will be a feature the landlord is required to check. When creating the lease, it is the best practice to clarify and separate the responsibilities of each party, should a disagreement or confusion occur.
Gas and Electricity
Gas and electricity is a vital service expected from landlords when running commercial apartments. They will need to provide a registered ‘Gas Safe’ engineer and an electrical safety engineer to look at the property on a regular basis. Any gas appliances or electrical items supplied is the tenants responsibility.
Things such as evacuation procedures are standard health and safety measures that will fall on tenants shoulders. However, landlords should always ensure they keep fire safety in mind with any risk assessment that takes place. Whether or not they provide fire safety equipment, is another consideration that landlords should bear in mind.
If a commercial property offers air conditioning systems, they must remain well maintained. This is so they don’t consume too much energy or leak hazardous substances. The tenant, landlord or managing agent may legally require having the air conditioning system inspected regularly by a qualified engineer or energy assessor.
A boiler system default can have a huge effect on the overall energy efficiency of a commercial building. Landlords will need to provide a heating engineer if any issues arise. It is important that offices keep a reasonable temperature at all times to ensure they do not effect staff productivity.
Although seemingly uncommon, It’s crucial to include asbestos in any risk assessments conducted. While it’s not always obligatory to remove the asbestos, failing to manage it can result in a string of consequences such as hefty fines, or even prison.
While other obligations may arise that a commercial apartments landlord may be subject to, all obligations are negotiable. It is therefore important to consult your lawyer prior to entering into any formal lease of your property.
Commercial leases differ from residential lease agreements. They are less standardised and there is usually much more room for negotiation.
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