What are My Responsibilities as a Commercial Tenant?

Commercial leases often give the tenants more responsibility for maintenance and upkeep than residential renting agreements. Are you wondering why that is?

Commercial Tenants are Different than Residential Tenants

Commercial leases handle maintenance differently for many reasons:


One reason is that a commercial tenant operating a business out of a building might not want to wait on a landlord if the problem is going to affect their clientele. The tenant can get the issue seen to as immediately as they are able.


Another reason is that the business operating out of the building—such as a restaurant—might affect how often the repairs are made. If the business on a property is a bar, and drunk customers are constantly ruining a wall, then the tenant would see that the wall is patched and repainted because the problem was a direct result of their business’ operation.

Who Controls the Site?

Here’s a common maintenance scenario which landlords often see. You own a building and have commercial tenants running a business out of it. One day in February you get a call from the tenants—the heating is broken. Who is responsible for the repair?

The answer to this situation can be as clear or as muddled as the commercial lease leaves it. Many commercial leases will split responsibility between the tenant and the landlord, stating that the tenant must pay for routine cleanings and checks, but the landlord is responsible for repairing breaks. Some landlords want to be in control of what is being done to the major systems of the property—commonly the HVAC, water and electricity of the building.

The way to prevent ugly disputes in the midst of a needed repair is a clear and detailed commercial lease agreement with a Maintenance and Repair clause. Ensure that your lease states what exactly “maintenance and repair” means, for exactly which systems of the property.

Generally, the landlord will take responsibility for the structure of the building, which includes but is not limited to the roof, exterior walls, and major systems. Tenant should assume duty to keep the interior up and running, as well as grounds appearance. Clear obligations up front will help the commercial agreement be a positive one.

We understand that the relationship between a landlord and a commercial tenant can be a difficult one to maintain, especially in the midst of needed repairs. If you are struggling to navigate the murky waters of repairs with your commercial property, Blue Mountain Realty and Property Management is here to help. Our professionals will keep your building safe and in good condition, and nurture positive relations with the tenants to boot.