Maintenance can be a commercial tenant’s responsibility

On Behalf of | Nov 29, 2023 | Commercial Real Estate

For many entrepreneurs and executives, signing a commercial lease is a huge step forward. A lease is often faster and more cost-effective than purchasing commercial property. It also involves less of a commitment, as a business could move on to a different property in a few years after completing the lease.

Sometimes, landlords renting out commercial properties include terms that their tenants do not expect. Some business owners and executives learn that a commercial lease makes them responsible for repairs to the space or routine maintenance when something goes wrong with a commercial property. Who is actually responsible for maintaining a commercial rental space?

The lease determines who is responsible

It is common for people to assume that landlords always have responsibility for the maintenance and upkeep of a rental space. While that is typically true of residential properties, it is not necessarily true for commercial spaces. Landlords can choose to either assess fees for maintaining the space or to hold the tenant accountable for certain types of maintenance.

The lease will usually include clauses outlining how the landlord charges for maintenance services or explaining what responsibilities they expect the tenant to assume. Prospective commercial tenants will therefore need to review a lease very carefully and to clarify any maintenance or repair obligations referenced in the contract.

In some cases, landlords could try to hold a tenant accountable for an aging, leaking roof or a failing furnace that has been in the building for years. Other times, they may simply refuse to do work that the tenant has neither the skills nor the funds to address.

Learning what a lease requires and verifying the condition of the property are both important for the protection of commercial tenants preparing to move into a rented space in New York City.