What are a landlord’s responsibilities?
Most commercial leases are ‘fully repairing and insuring’ (FRI). This means that the Tenant is responsible for most of the maintenance and repairs costs, plus the cost of buildings insurance.
However, a landlord still has responsibilities under the law and in the commercial lease agreement, they have signed with the Tenant.
By law, a landlord is responsible for:
- Maintaining all gas appliances and installations as set out by the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.
- Carrying out a fire safety risk assessment under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. They may also be responsible for providing fire safety equipment.
- Electrical safety as detailed under the Landlord and Tenants Act 1985, the Occupiers Liability Act 1957 and the Occupiers Liability Act 1984. Commercial landlords have a duty to make sure precautions are taken to reduce the risk of injury to tenants and damage to property.
- Fixtures and fittings that they have installed. These must be safe and properly maintained.
- Meeting Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES). It is illegal to grant a lease on a commercial property with an EPC rating of less than E.
Under Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, a commercial landlord is partially responsible for maintaining common areas of a property and the exterior of the property, including wiring and other health and safety aspects. The exception is when a tenant is the sole occupant of a property.
When a landlord does not meet their responsibilities under the law or as specified in the commercial lease agreement, a tenant can take legal action against them. A tenant may also be able to claim compensation for any financial losses and personal injury.
What happens if a commercial landlord sells their property?
When a landlord sells a commercial property, the new owner will inherit the tenant and the existing lease agreement. The new owner of the property will become the landlord.