The legal rights and obligations of commercial tenants are somewhat different from those of residential tenants in New Jersey. While residential tenants are protected by laws that set a basic threshold for the habitability of housing, commercial tenants generally take rental properties "as is." That means commercial tenants are usually responsible for all maintenance and repair costs unless otherwise stated in the property lease agreement.
It is in the best interest of both the landlord and the tenant for the commercial lease agreement to clearly state each party’s responsibilities when it comes to repair, maintenance and replacement responsibilities.
Commercial tenants can expect to be held responsible for ordinary wear and tear and non-structural repair costs, like fixing damaged flooring, chipped paint and similar items.
Commercial landlords, on the other hand, typically choose to take responsibility for structural repairs as it allows them greater control over making decisions that affect the long-term stability of the property. Structural repairs include fixing electrical wiring, damaged roofing, foundation issues or plumbing problems. When making repairs, tenants should replace items with products of equal or greater quality to ensure compliance with obligations to maintain the property during the lease term.
When negotiating and composing your maintenance and repair obligations, you should consider and specifically address the interior of the leased property, the exterior of the property, the building's roof and the management of alterations, additions, improvements or replacements.
In addition, it is wise for commercial tenants to limit any responsibility for ensuring the property complies with building codes or laws like the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and its associated standards for access.
Tenants must understand the terms of their contract and any obligations for maintaining the property. If a tenant does not maintain the commercial property in compliance with the lease agreement, the landlord may have grounds for forfeiture or terminating the lease.
As in many other commercial landlord-tenant matters, outlining issues of repair and maintenance requires clear communication, negotiation and detailed lease drafting. With an unambiguously worded lease agreement, both sides can reduce the likelihood of disputes requiring court intervention.
Barker, Gelfand, James & Sarvas, P.C. advises South Jersey clients in commercial landlord-tenant matters. Please call 609-601-8677 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation at one of our New Jersey offices, located in Linwood, Pitman and Marlton.
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Barker, Gelfand, James & Sarvas, P.C. is located in Linwood, NJ and serves clients in and around Linwood, Somers Point, Ventnor City, Margate City, Northfield, Egg Harbor Township, Atlantic City, Pleasantville, Absecon, Pomona, Oceanville, Mays Landing, Egg Harbor City, Port Republic, Brigantine, Longport, We also serve Atlantic, Cape May, Gloucester, Cumberland and Camden counties.
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