Commercial buildings are those that are let out to firms and businesses, often on a floor-by-floor basis. Offices and workspaces are provided along with components such as fixtures, basic repairs, and, in modern times, sustainability factors. It is a popular retail-based business model and when proper procedures are upheld, landlords can enjoy a prosperous venture. Some things are under the responsibility remit of the building owner and landlord, and some aren’t. Read on to see what you can to manage as a landlord.
Making and Keeping Buildings Sustainable
Sustainability is a key consideration for current times to successfully protect the future of the planet. So much so, in fact, that it has even made its way into government policy. Landlords can take advantage of incentives backed by legislation when they make their buildings more sustainable. You can, for example:
- Install solar panels and move away from fossil fuel usage
- Install LED lightbulbs and use natural light efficiently
- Install insulation
- Use green building materials for renovation and repairs
Aside from the benefits for the environment, landlords are also eligible for tax incentive schemes such as the one detailed in Section 179d of the Energy Policy Act that was put into action back in 2005. If help is needed to navigate this tax alleviation process, landlords are always able to outsource for professional input such as the company linked above that are experts in everything tax related for businesses.
Biodiversity refers to the external world, for example, nature and animal habitats. Landlords have an ethical and environmental responsibility to ensure that any properties under their ownership adhere to safe ecological practices. Because the external garden areas of a building also fall under landlord jurisdiction, this aspect also requires caring for. Fortunately for landlords, multiple methods exist for enhancing biodiversity around a building.
Firstly, you can plant flowers that support bees and other wildlife in their natural surroundings. Bees have a key role to play in crop fertilization and are important to society through their pollination habits and ability to make the honey food source. So, they are a good place to start.
Secondly, you should protect pre-existing and currently established habitats. Animals considered pests such as rats, bats, and mice are often removed especially from commercial buildings. While this can’t always be avoided, other creatures such as birds also make their home around properties on a regular basis. Instead of blindly removing all animals that settle in, you should make moves to protect and preserve instead.
Health and Safety Procedures
There are a strict set of codes that need to be followed to the letter for landlords. These health and safety regulations are dictated by local government and community building practices. Any building owner is legally required to follow proper procedures and ensure their commercial property is up to an acceptable standard. Because this changes state to state, get to grips with what is expected in your area to avoid fines and penalties.
Repairs and Maintenance
Landlords of commercial and domestic properties are expected to fulfill repairs and basic maintenance as a given. Some landlords employ a building handyman to carry out all these jobs, as the list can build up fast, especially in big commercial establishments. All these terms should be laid out very clearly with no room to misinterpret, in the established tenancy agreement.
What kind of repairs do landlords have to fix?
This is an ambiguous question as different landlords follow different rules. Generally speaking, anything structural is the landlord’s responsibility. This covers floor breakages, wall damage, ceiling structures, and building foundation damage. Some landlords may also take on responsibility for plumbing aspects, and most will take care of electrical issues too.
What kind of repairs are tenants liable for?
There are some things that are beyond the bill for a landlord. Aesthetic repairs tend to fall on the tenant, so chipped paint and stained carpets, etc. General maintenance of the bits of the building you are responsible for under the terms of the lease is also the tenant’s responsibility. That means keeping things tidy and not in a state of disrepair. It also means reporting any damages or breakages in good time to avoid bigger repercussions.
Clear Communicative Practices
As a landlord, you have to be able to communicate properly and within legal parameters with your tenants. Sometimes, there will be information that needs conveying; for example, essential repair work or building code updates. When this happens, proper channels of communication should be observed. Legally, as a landlord, you have to pre-inform tenants of an intention to carry out works, especially if this means they will have to vacate their property for a number of days or even just a single time period. If you don’t, you are liable for legal action from the tenants.
No Unfair Evictions
Unfair or unlawful evictions are a sad reality for tenants, and commercial buildings are not exempt from this. Landlords running businesses are essentially entrepreneurs and therefore, they have to think as such. All decisions made around the building are business ones and dictate the livelihood of the landlord in question. Sporadically, it may be essential to evict tenants. This can happen when rent payments are long overdue and many months have been missed, too much damage has occurred within the property, or even multiple complaints have been received around noise or activity within the building.
The landlord is ultimately responsible for all these things; however, due warning and the opportunity to rectify or make amends should be given as a first option. Eviction needs to be the last case scenario after all other means have been exhausted. Of course, this is the harder route, but it is the legal and morally preferable one.
Landlords are responsible for a wide range of aspects with regard to the buildings that they own. Though the law is in constant review, it is also a question of moral and ethical obligation. This is a business, but it deals with human beings and can be highly emotional too.