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Navigating maintenance and repair works: The ultimate guide for commercial tenants

By: Kelly Bellerson
Commercial Articles

Understanding the nuances of maintenance and repair works is essential to ensure a smooth and thriving business environment.

Who is responsible for when things go wrong? What is the role of your building owner during your lease? Do you have permission to refurbish the property? Here’s everything you need to know…

Responsibilities during your tenancy

Before signing a lease, it’s crucial for commercial tenants to carefully review the terms related to maintenance and repairs.

Lease agreements typically outline the responsibilities of both parties concerning the upkeep of the property, however, it is vital to be aware of specific clauses that detail who is responsible for what.

Generally, tenants are responsible for day-to-day maintenance, such as keeping the premises clean and ensuring that fixtures and fittings are in good condition.

As a tenant, you should promptly report any maintenance or repair issues to the landlord or property manager. Timely reporting can prevent minor problems from escalating into major, costly repairs.

Examples of the different types of maintenance works that may be required

HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems: Regular cleaning and maintenance of HVAC filters, ducts, and units ensures proper air quality, temperature control, and energy efficiency, preventing system breakdowns and reducing utility costs.

Plumbing systems: Periodic inspections and maintenance of pipes, faucets, and water heaters prevents leaks, water damage, and ensures proper functioning of communal bathrooms and kitchen facilities.

Roof maintenance: Inspection and repair of the roof, including fixing leaks and replacing damaged roofing materials protects the interior from water damage and ensures a safe and comfortable working environment.

Electrical systems: Regular inspection of wiring, outlets, and electrical panels reduces the risk of electrical fires, promoting a safe working environment, and prevents disruptions due to power outages.

Flooring and carpets: Repair or replacement of damaged flooring or carpets enhances the aesthetics of the space, improves safety, and provides a clean and professional appearance.

Exterior maintenance: Repainting, cleaning, and repairing the exterior walls, windows, and doors maintains the property’s curb appeal, protects against weather damage, and promotes a positive business image too.

Security systems: Regular testing and maintenance of security cameras, alarms, and access control systems protects against theft and vandalism, in addition to complying with security regulations.

Fire safety systems: Inspection and testing of fire alarms, sprinkler systems, and fire extinguishers ensures compliance with safety regulations, protects against fire hazards, and enhances the safety of occupants.

Consequences of poor maintenance

Failure to fulfil maintenance obligations as outlined in the lease agreement can have legal consequences.

Landlords may take legal action to enforce compliance, which can lead to financial penalties or even eviction.

Poorly maintained commercial properties not only affect the business operations within but can also impact the overall value of the property.

Additionally, it can harm the reputation of the business, potentially driving away customers and clients.

Neglecting maintenance can also result in safety hazards within the premises. This not only puts employees and customers at risk but can also lead to legal liabilities for the tenant.

Keep on top of maintenance and repairs

Regular maintenance helps extend the lifespan of assets within the commercial space, such as HVAC systems, plumbing, and electrical systems. This can save the tenant money in the long run by avoiding premature replacements.

Well-maintained equipment and systems are generally more energy efficient. This not only contributes to cost savings but also aligns with sustainability goals, which are increasingly important in today’s business landscape.

A well-maintained commercial space also reflects positively on the business. It creates a professional and inviting atmosphere for clients, customers, and employees, contributing to a positive brand image.

Furthermore, regular maintenance can help identify and address issues early on, preventing them from becoming major problems that require expensive repairs. Proactive maintenance is often more cost-effective than reactive measures.

Enlisting the help of a building surveyor

With a deep understanding of property laws, construction, and building maintenance, building surveyors can decode complex lease terms and conditions, breaking down the often intricate language to make it more accessible for tenants.

By conducting thorough property assessments, a chartered building surveyor will be able to identify specific clauses within the lease that pertain to maintenance and repair responsibilities.

This proactive approach helps tenants anticipate potential costs and obligations associated with the upkeep of the premises.

Moreover, the surveyor can guide tenants through the intricacies of compliance with building regulations and ensure that any maintenance or repair works align with the terms stipulated in the lease agreement.

This proactive involvement not only fosters a clearer understanding of tenant obligations but also empowers tenants to make informed decisions about property management, ultimately contributing to a more harmonious landlord-tenant relationship.

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