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Who Is Responsible For The HVAC System In A Commercial Lease Building?

Published: September 26, 2023

Who Is Responsible For The HVAC System In A Commercial Lease Building?

When you lease a commercial space, there may be certain repairs and upkeep items you and the landlord work together on. It can be a part of your business strategy to lease a space and rely on others for the big-ticket repairs, but at the end of the day, who is responsible for these bills? Is it the responsibility of the owner or the tenant? Keep reading to learn more about commercial HVAC maintenance with Service Tech HVAC

Get Your Commercial HVAC Plan in Writing

If you are already in a building with a lease, first check your lease to see if there is an agreement. You may be able to re-negotiate when you renew your lease. If you are shopping for a space, during negotiations with the property management company or landlord, be sure to discuss who will handle these repairs.

A separate HVAC clause in your lease may be a good idea, as these repairs are often costly and emergent to maintain business operations. An HVAC clause can prevent misunderstandings and reduce conflict between other tenants and the landlord or property management group. If you have an attorney, have them read over the lease to help you identify any holes and help you understand all of the clauses. 

There could also be a clause in your lease that states the landlord will only pay for big-ticket repairs if you can provide proof of regular maintenance, so it’s important to understand what you are agreeing to. You also don’t want to be out-of-pocket for repairs or maintenance that your landlord has already agreed to pay for. They may also require you to use a specific company, so reading and really understanding your lease can save you headaches down the road.

4 Common Ways to Deal with Commercial HVAC Maintenance in a Lease

There are 4 common ways to handle commercial HVAC maintenance and repairs in a lease: 

    1. Landlord has full responsibility. If your commercial space is in a place where the HVAC system serves multiple tenants, like in a high-rise office building, it can be common for the landlord to maintain full responsibility. However, they can often pass the cost off to the tenants through monthly rent or a maintenance or building fee. 
    2. The tenant has full responsibility. If your business is in a building or space where you have your own HVAC unit, you may be fully responsible for repairs and maintenance. This is common in those types of buildings because it encourages all tenants to properly maintain their systems. However, this doesn’t guarantee everyone will properly maintain their systems. This could result in conflict among tenants as repairs due to lack of proper maintenance can be costly. 
    3. The tenant has limited responsibility. Another option is that the landlord may require the tenant to pay for maintenance and repairs, usually with a cap on how much a tenant has to pay. Usually, the cap is on an annual basis. This would make a landlord fully responsible for replacing the unit should the need arise. 
    4. Tenant and Landlord share responsibility. Similar to the tenant having limited responsibility, the two parties can agree that the tenant will pay for maintenance and repairs while the landlord pays for replacements. 

Be sure to read your lease thoroughly prior to signing and consider having an attorney look it over. This can help avoid a heated HVAC conversation down the road. While these 4 situations are the most common, they are not the only options available. 

Learn More About Commercial & Residential HVAC Tips and Tricks.

Contact Service Tech HVAC for your Commercial HVAC Needs

Whether you are a tenant or a landlord, when your HVAC is in need of repairs or maintenance, the pros at Service Tech are standing by, ready to help. Our team is standing by 24/7, ready to help with any emergency. Contact us online today to set up an appointment to discuss your commercial HVAC needs, or give us a call. 

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