Responsibilities After Owning a Commercial Property
Owning a commercial property brings certain responsibilities that you must take. You must know what your errands are after owning a commercial property. This avoids you from confusion when you are lending the property to a tenant. Most people clearly mention responsibilities while writing the lease. There are certain responsibilities that both tenants and owners can decide on their own. Like setting Commercial Fire Alarm Systems, small maintenance or fittings.
Still, landlords are legally bound to ensure the safety of their property. We have discussed responsibilities for which owners are considered accountable.
Usually, insurance is a matter that landlords left for tenants but doing so isn’t wise. It is in your interest to ensure your property by yourself. There are a number of reasons why you should do it. You get to pick an insurer or broker and can control the claim process in case of an unfortunate event.
Above all, you can specify the cover level as the concept of commercial property insurance is vague. Policies vary from insurer to insurer with some basic features like contents cover and loss of rent.
Repairing and Maintenance
Landlords typically lend their property to tenants on ‘Fully Repairing and Insuring’ lease. It means that tenants are responsible to leave the property in its original state. Also, they are accountable for any repairing and maintenance work. But the responsibilities may change in certain conditions.
For example, maintenance is the responsibility of the owner if there are multiple tenants. In addition to this, the building’s structural integrity and cleaning communal areas are also the owner’s responsibility.
Since 2012, duty holders are responsible to handle asbestos. It usually falls on the shoulders of the tenant if you sign an FRI lease. In case it is not clearly mentioned then it will be decided by control. The person with more control, either landlord or tenant, will be responsible for asbestos in the building.
Ensuring electricity safety is a legal obligation for the owner. The landlord will have to ensure that the necessary precautions and steps have been taken in this regard. However, the electrical appliances that tenants install or buy are their own responsibility.
Before leasing your commercial property, decide who will be responsible for gas safety. Tenants are accountable for the flue or pipework installation and gas appliances in the workplace. Whereas, installations in communal areas are the responsibility of the owner.
Fire safety is an obligation of the person, landlord or tenant, who has more control. However, the tenant will be responsible for evacuation procedures if the property is being used as a workplace. On the contrary, providing fire safety equipment is the responsibility of the owner.
Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)
From April 2018, all the eligible rented properties must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). It is a certificate that rates your building’s energy efficiency. The criteria start from A i.e. the most efficient to G i.e. the least efficient. Your commercial property must have a rating no worse than E. Commercial EPC remains effective for 10 years whereas a worse rating can cost you a fine of £5,000.