Responsibilities of landlords and tenants
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21 September 2009
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
It is particularly important, before signing a lease to check
what the liability is with regard to repairs needing to be done.
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.
By Jane Coyle (Jane.Coyle@lawdit.co.uk).
About the Author
Lawdit Solicitors offer services and
advice for litigation, commercial contracts, Intellectual Property and IT legal
agreements. We are experts in commercial law with a heavy emphasis on
Intellectual Property, Internet and e-commerce law. Lawdit is a member of the
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2009-09-30 12:37:51 in Legal Articles