Commercial Lease Attorney

Commercial Lease Problems: Repairs and Maintenance

There are a several commercial lease problems that Dallas-area landlord-tenant lawyers typically see. These are:

  1. Disputes over who pays for repair issues 
  2. Lawsuits over a landlord’s failure to act on a repair or maintenance needs – and eviction notices over a tenant’s failure to pay rent because the landlord has failed to make repairs.
  3. Large, unexpected increases in CAM charges due to improvement projects and maintenance
  4. Challenges to the assignment of a property when a tenant wishes to leave before their lease is up
  5. Tenants charging that a landlord violated the exclusive use provisions of their lease
  6. Difficulties with lease renewals when a commercial lease expires

In this blog post, we will take a look at commercial lease problems that can arise with repairs.

What Are Your Rights as a Commercial Tenant? It Begins with Your Lease

Many small business owners assume that commercial leases are standard “take it or leave it” deals, so they don’t spend time on lease negotiation and don’t take their lease to a landlord-tenant attorney for a pre-signing review. They file it away and it only comes out again when troubles arise. And troubles inevitably do arise with repairs and maintenance problems. 

Commercial Lease: Who is Responsible for Repairs?

While commercial property maintenance and repairs are negotiable, typically the landlord is only responsible for maintaining exterior and structural portions of the leased premise. The commercial tenants is responsible for maintaining everything else. 

But of course, it’s all one building and what happens with the exterior and the structure impacts what happens inside. It’s not uncommon for tenants to dispute that the problem in their part of the building was caused by poor of exterior maintenance or inadequate repairs. 

Take, for example, a discolored and damaged ceiling. The lease says the landlord is not responsible for the interior ceiling (especially if the tenant accepted the premises in “as-is” condition). But how did the interior ceiling become damaged? 

Was it caused by a severe storm with rain? A leaking air conditioning unit on the roof? The tenant may say the landlord was negligent because they did not properly waterproof/seal the roof. With a commercial lease, who is responsible for repairs, the landlord or the insurance company of the commercial tenant? 

  • When and in what manner will the repairs be made?
  • What amounts to an acceptable repair? 
  • How much time does the landlord/business owner have to fix it? 
  • Were there damages to business operations, inventory or fixtures? What is the cost of the business losses? 

These issues may be covered in a covenant of the lease itself. If not, these and other questions may form the basis of a legal claim in Dallas civil court. 

If the tenant has made the landlord aware of the situation and the problem has not been fixed, the tenant may consider that they have been “constructively evicted” from the property because it became “unsuitable” for their use. 

Your Commercial Lease Has Value – Protect It

You will benefit from having an experienced commercial landlord-tenant lawyer review your lease agreement with you so you understand the terms of your contract, how conflicts should be resolved, and any breach of provisions. A lawyer may then be able to negotiate repair and maintenance problems and who pays. 

When litigation is the only means of resolving a dispute, the landlord-tenant lawyers at The Fell Law Firm can make the difference. Call toll free at 972-450-1418 or complete our online contact form to schedule a consultation. 

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