HVAC Disputes and Commercial Leases
Most people cannot afford to buy the apartments, houses, and commercial units where they live and work, but renting is not a perfect situation. Everything is fine when all of the appliances and utilities in the rented space are functioning well, but when something malfunctions, the disagreements begin. Tenants do not always have the right to make repairs without the landlord’s permission, and when the landlord does not start the repairs promptly, the tenant suffers great inconvenience. Likewise, landlords who are responsible for repairs may struggle to come up with the money to initiate these repairs when several properties suffer damage or require appliance replacement at the same time. Even worse is when the lease agreement contains ambiguity about which aspects of maintenance and repair are the landlord’s responsibility and which are the tenant’s responsibility. Before you sign a lease, you should review all of its provisions in detail. For help preventing and resolving disputes related to commercial lease agreements, contact a Washington, D.C. small business lawyer.
Read the Fine Print in Your Lease Before Freezing Through the Winter
Much like the vital organs of the body, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems do not occupy our attention until something goes wrong with them. You might not notice how important a properly functioning HVAC system is to your business, but would customers dine in your restaurant if the seating areas were uncomfortably hot or cold? Successful storage of supplies is often dependent on the temperature of the storage area, and not only when you are storing food.
Commercial lease agreements should indicate how the landlord and the tenant will apportion responsibility for HVAC repairs. For example, if the HVAC system serves an entire building and multiple tenants benefit from it, then maintenance of the system should be the landlord’s responsibility. If the system only serves one tenant, then it might be the tenant’s responsibility to repair it, especially if the tenant was the one that installed it. This means that it is the tenant’s responsibility to choose an HVAC unit that is unlikely to malfunction; this is not an issue when you are buying a new HVAC system, but if you are buying it used, you should be prepared to demonstrate that you know that the system is in good condition.
If you are planning on renting a commercial space where multiple units depend on the same HVAC system, you should ask to see a recent inspection report of the HVAC system before you sign the lease. The age of the HVAC system should be a factor in whether you decide to sign the lease and in what constitutes a fair rent amount. If you are unsure about the implications of the HVAC provisions in your lease agreement, you should consult a lawyer.
Contact Tobin O’Connor Ewing About Commercial Lease Disputes
A Washington, D.C. small business attorney can help you protect your rights when signing a commercial lease agreement. Contact Tobin, O’Connor, and Ewing in Washington, D.C. or call 202-362-5900.