As a tenant, understanding your repairing obligations is one of the most important considerations to make. The extent of your repair and maintenance responsibilities depends on your lease, so it is crucial to check the terms. 

In this article, we cover the key aspects of repair obligations, such as rent-free periods, and schedule of conditions:

Repairing Obligation

Repairing obligations ensure that the property is in a good state throughout and at the end of the lease. However, be very careful – depending on the lease, you could be held responsible for repairs before your lease even begins.

Rent-Free Period

So, what happens if you are held responsible for historic damage? The worst result is that you have significant repairing responsibilities at the end of your lease, which could have been avoided at the beginning.

One way of dealing with this properly is agreeing on a rent – free period with your landlord. If the property is in poor condition before the lease commences, a tenant can use a rent- free period as a negotiation tool. It would offset the cost of carrying out repair work and meet the necessary standard.

It is worth noting though that other payments due under the lease, like service and utility charges, still need to be met during the rent-free period.

Schedule of Condition

Recently, we were able to assist a client who was in danger of taking on repair obligations at the end of their lease, but we negotiated a limitation based on the schedule of condition – a detailed document that lists the property’s current condition.

It can take many forms, including written documentation and video. It records any existing problems and repair costs prior to the lease being signed, helping tenants protect themselves against repair obligations.

Survey

Without these precautions in place, repair obligations can be very expensive. Prospective tenants should inspect the property carefully and carry out a survey, determining their potential repair liabilities.

Overview

There is a lot to consider before you sign a commercial lease, but value can be added when repair costs and responsibilities are avoided through legal advice, helping you with property inspection, rent – free periods, and schedule of conditions.  

Ultimately, these precautions could save you a significant amount of money when it comes to the end of your lease.

For information on the services we offer, please see our Commercial Property page.