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What Is a Commercial Landlord Responsible For?

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As the owner of a small business, if you’re planning to take on a new commercial lease agreement, you’ll be eager to know what your landlord is responsible for. 

In this article, we’ll be delving into this topic in more detail, to give you a good overview understanding of commercial landlord responsibilities.

How do the roles differ in a commercial lease?

As a business tenant, you will have certain responsibilities, mainly in terms of payment of rent and other outgoings in connection with the property. 

You will also be responsible for any maintenance and repair obligations that you have agreed in your lease. You will assume responsibility for ensuring that the property is used per the lease terms, for example adhering to any use class restrictions and hours of trading limitations etc.

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However, as a landlord, there is a different set of responsibilities. The landlord will be either the freehold owner of the commercial premises or will be a long leaseholder. As such, their primary responsibility is to collect the rent and ensure that the interests of the building are met and that the property is not placed in jeopardy as a result of the tenant’s occupation. 

The precise details of what this entails will depend on the terms of the particular lease, but there are some broad commonalities shared by the majority of leases.

Which repairs are my landlord’s responsibility?

It will depend on the type of building and the agreed lease terms, but the vast majority of commercial leases fall into one of the following two categories, and the following broad maintenance principles apply:

Full repairing lease of the whole building

This is where you lease an entire building and assume responsibility for the repair and maintenance of the whole unit. In this situation, the landlord bears no responsibility for such matters, and the tenant is responsible.

Internal lease of part only

In this situation, the tenant leases a part of a larger building. Generally, they will then only be responsible for internal repair and maintenance within their own part, but will not be responsible for repair and maintenance of the building at large (i.e. the structure and roof etc) or the common parts, which will remain with the landlord. 

However, the commercial tenant will usually be required to pay a service charge (along with the other tenants of the building) and these monies will be put towards the costs of the upkeep of the structure of the building and the common parts (i.e. the reception, corridors, any communal kitchen & toilets, and lifts etc).

What does ‘quiet enjoyment’ mean?

This means that your landlord is required to allow you to use and enjoy your property without improper interference. This is provided that you keep up-to-date with your rent and comply with your lease terms.

Who is responsible for insuring the building?

It’s nearly always the case with commercial property insurance that the landlord will insure the property and then pass the cost of the insurance back to the tenant. This happens regardless of whether the lease is a full repairing lease of the whole building, or a lease of part only. 

The only difference in this regard in that in a lease of part only, each tenant will pay only a proportionate cost of the total cost of the buildings insurance – typically assessed by their own net floor area as a percentage of the whole building floor area.

Get legal assistance from LawBite

If you require legal advice on a commercial lease agreement or need specific support regarding an existing commercial property issue, we’re here to help. 

We can advise on all aspects of commercial property leases. Appointing an expert lawyer to assist you can give you the peace of mind to know that all your commercial property needs will be met.

LawBite has experienced, friendly lawyers who can help you with all commercial, corporate and employment legal matters. We have successfully handled tens of thousands of enquiries from SMEs and are proud of our 98% positive feedback rating

About the author

Ashley Gurr is an experienced commercial property lawyer at LawBite, who has represented SME clients for many years in the fields of property, general commercial and employment law.

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Updated on
January 22, 2024

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