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26 Sep 19

Maintenance at Commercial Tenancies

So many times, in today’s online world, we are faced with screens and screens of disclaimers and special conditions and without reading them at all, we simply click ACCEPT.

However, in relation to commercial lease documentation, it is always strongly recommended that you and/or your legal representative should read through the lease, special conditions, annexures, etc, so that you have a full understanding of your obligations once you’ve signed that you agree with all aspects of the lease. If I have learnt anything in commercial real estate over 30 years, it is that “every lease is different!” Don’t assume that what applied at a different property and Landlord, will apply elsewhere.

Maintenance can be an issue where the lines between Landlord and Tenant obligations can become blurred – especially if there are terms and conditions inserted into a lease that are outside current legislation.

Based on the details shown on the Small Business Commissioners’ website, the Landlord is to maintain at their own cost the structure of the property and any fixtures, fittings, plant and equipment belonging to the Landlord (e.g. air-conditioning, hot water service, power boards). If repairs are needed due to the Tenant’s misuse or damage, then the Tenant must repair or reimburse the Landlord for such repairs. Otherwise, the Tenant must keep the property clean and in good order, subject to fair wear and tear during the term/s of the lease.

It is common for commercial leases to include a clause requiring the Tenant to return the property in the condition it was when they took initial possession. A way to clarify this requirement, is to insist on a Condition Report – with photos – and this will be the basis for satisfactory handover at lease end.

As always, this information is generic and non-specific in content, and if you have any questions or concerns, please seek professional advice from your legal representative.

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