Office maintenance: who is responsible? Tenant or landlord?
When you rent office space, as an entrepreneur you have certain obligations when it comes to maintenance. This also applies to the lessor. Minor maintenance is often the responsibility of the tenant. Major maintenance work is the landlord's responsibility.
Obligations for the tenant
Minor maintenance includes office cleaning and other minor repairs unless otherwise stated in the lease. Such as in business centres and other full-service office concepts. Minor repairs are often at the expense of the tenant. Again, exceptions usually apply to the aforementioned parties. If office space is leased on the basis of a service contract, minor maintenance is usually also the responsibility of the lessor. A complete enumeration of which repairs are to be paid for by the tenant can be found in the Minor Repairs Decree.
The landlord's obligations
The landlord's obligations are related, among other things, to the tenant's enjoyment of the property. If major defects arise, the landlord will have to remedy them. These include poor maintenance, pest control, remedying construction faults or arranging for certain permits.
If you, as a tenant, notice that there is a defect in the office, you should report this to the landlord. He will then have the opportunity to fix the defect. If it is urgent, the tenant can intervene directly. If the landlord does not respond to a request for repair, the tenant can take action and recover the costs from the landlord. In extreme cases, this can also be done by paying less rent, although, as an entrepreneur, you will then have to ensure that this is legally sound. If the tenant himself causes a nuisance which results in defects or if the defects turn out to be less serious than the tenant has claimed, the landlord does not have to pay the costs.
Tenancy agreement and condition of the property
Make sure you have a tenancy agreement that clearly states how the maintenance obligation is divided. What is small maintenance and therefore for the account of the tenant and what is the landlord obliged to do? You can also avoid unnecessary liability at the start of the lease. You can do this by establishing in writing what condition the office is in at the time the agreement is entered into.
Business premises properly insured
An important part of good maintenance is covering insurance. In principle, the lessor should arrange for buildings insurance. This insures all nails and earth fixed objects. As an entrepreneur, you have to arrange contents insurance, i.e., insurance for all individual objects in the building that you rent. Both insurances are not compulsory, but it is wise to take out one. However, building insurance is sometimes mandatory for mortgage lenders.
Tax advantages for maintenance costs
As a tenant of a business property, there are certain tax advantages. For example, you may deduct certain costs for using the business premises from the company's income. You then declare that amount to the tax authorities. Think of rental and energy costs, but also the maintenance costs for keeping the office clean.
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