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What are your commercial property legal obligations?

As a landlord or tenant of a commercial property, you have a duty to ensure the business premises is well-maintained, offering a safe and healthy place for people to work. The law and terms of lease determines whether the landlord or tenant is responsible for certain aspects of business property.

A landlord’s obligations and responsibilities are often laid down in legislation, or form part of the lease agreement between them and their tenants. For this reason, it’s essential that landlords and tenants understand what is legally required of them. Here’s a run-down of the four most important commercial property legal obligations:

Gas safety

Failing to comply with the Gas Safety Regulations may result in significant fines or a prison sentence. Landlords have a duty, in relation to gas safety, to maintain all gas installations and appliances in their business property. They are required to arrange an annual inspection conducted by an official Gas Safe registered engineer and keep records of every inspection for at least two years.

At the same time, tenants should check the terms of their commercial property lease carefully to fully understand and make themselves aware of any obligations that they will need to comply with during the lease period.

Fire safety 

Your duties as a commercial property tenant include taking general fire precautions to ensure safety in the event of a fire, carrying out daily risk assessments and keeping things under review to ensure the premises, your fire safety equipment as well as emergency routes and exits are properly maintained and kept in working order.

Anyone found guilty of non-compliance with the Fire Safety Order is liable to a fine, and if brought to the Crown Court, a prison sentence.

Electrical safety 

Landlords have a duty of care towards their tenants to prevent personal injury or damage to their property by ensuring all reasonable steps and precautions are made. By failing to do this, they risk a substantial claim for compensation.

While there is no legal requirement to provide a certificate to the tenant, the Electrical Safety Council recommends that testing is carried out every five years or on a change of tenancy.

Health and safety 

When renting a business premises, it’s down to the tenant to carry out health and safety risk assessments in the workplace and take necessary action to remove any potential and existing hazards. Further to this, the tenant should provide a reasonable working temperature, a comfortable amount of space, ventilation and lighting, toilets and washing facilities, drinking water and safe equipment for employees to carry out their duties in the workplace.

On the other hand, the landlord is responsible for any aspects of health and safety relating to communal areas named in the lease. In this case, the tenant must take reasonable steps to ensure that their landlord complies with these responsibilities.

Need advice on your commercial property legal obligations, laws and regulations? Contact our friendly team of specialist property solicitors in four locations to see how we can help you today.

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