There are advantages that come from renting commercial real estate instead of purchasing it. There is less upfront investment required. There will also be greater opportunity to move to a different space when your needs change. Such flexibility is often crucial for those starting a new business.
However, one common expectation among those signing their first commercial lease may eventually lead to disappointment. Although residential landlords typically have an obligation to maintain their units and make repairs when things break, the same is not always true in a commercial lease.
Your lease determines who has the responsibility for maintenance and repairs
It is the middle of the summer, and all of a sudden, your air conditioner stops working. Your employees start complaining and productivity majorly drops. In extreme situations, you may even have to cease operations until you can get the facility back down to a safe temperature.
You may not realize until after you call your landlord that your lease leaves you responsible for any HVAC repairs necessary. If your landlord assigns maintenance and repair responsibilities to you in the lease, you may be at a disadvantage if anything breaks during your tenancy. In some cases, landlords may even try to pass on standard upkeep expenses because they know that certain systems will require repairs or upgrade during a lease.
If you feel a landlord was dishonest about the terms of the lease or the condition of the property, litigating your lease-related dispute may be the only way to resolve it. Looking over your lease and documenting the issues you’ve experienced can help you determine what step you need to take next.