Health & Safety Responsibilities of Commercial Tenants and Landlords

Health & Safety Responsibilities of Commercial Tenants and Landlords

John Southall

The terms of your lease will usually outline your responsibilities and those of your landlord. Your lease should say who is responsible for repairs and maintenance of the property. Your landlord is usually responsible for health and safety in communal areas. However, as well as what’s written in the lease, there are legal responsibilities on both sides that can sometimes overlap. This article provides a simple guide as to the typical day-to-day health and safety responsibilities of both tenants and landlords.

Tenant responsibilities

Usually, the tenant is responsible for:

  • Fire safety (however, the landlord may be responsible for providing equipment, like fire extinguishers).
  • Safety of electrical appliances you buy or install.
  • Gas safety - an annual inspection by a registered gas safety engineer to make sure appliances and pipework are safe is usually the tenants' responsibility (however, landlords usually look after the safety of installations in any communal areas).
  • Managing asbestos - if the asbestos management duties are not clearly defined in the lease, then the person who has the most control over the building is usually responsible.
  • Fixtures and fittings - tenants are responsible for the safety and maintenance of any fixtures and fittings they install.
  • Air conditioning, heating or refrigeration systems - responsibility usually rests with the party who has control over the technical functioning of the equipment - usually the tenant.

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Further tenant responsibilities:

Any responsibility that isn’t mentioned in the lease will usually be yours as the tenant. Bare in mind that when you move out you may have to pay for repairs or return the property to the state it was in when you first rented it.

Landlord responsibilities
  • Electrical safety - There is a legal responsibility on the landlord to ensure that electrical safety standards are maintained. This includes a duty of care to ensure all reasonable steps and precautions are taken to prevent personal injury to tenants or damage to their property.
  • Communal areas - If the building is let to multiple tenants, the landlord will usually retain responsibility for maintaining and cleaning communal areas, even though the tenant may be paying a fee towards cleaning and maintenance.
  • Fixtures and fittings - those belonging to the landlord need to be safe to use, correctly installed and maintained by them.
  • Structural integrity of the main building.

Whether you are renting your workplace or you own your workplace, you will still be responsible for conducting a health and safety risk assessment in the workplace and taking steps to remove any hazards.

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