As a landlord you have certain rights and responsibilities, regardless of whether your property is designated residential or commercial. Many landlords start off investing in residential property and then make the move to commercial property investment and while this is a common pathway it’s important to be aware that there are some really significant differences between owning commercial and residential property.
Many of the rights and responsibilities of the landlord are different for commercial properties, including who takes care of maintenance and what happens in the event of a tenant wanting to leave after an extensive fitout.
Generally speaking, in commercial properties, tenants are responsible for maintenance of the internal areas of the property and anything else that is not structural, while the landlord is responsible for maintaining the structural elements of the building. This can lead to misunderstandings so it’s important that it is clearly stipulated in the lease exactly who is responsible for what.
When it comes to outgoings, generally the tenant will pay for all utilities they use as part of their tenancy in a commercial building. If a tenant has arranged for a fitout, when they leave they are generally responsible for returning the property to its original condition, but again, this needs to be stipulated in the lease if you want to avoid any disputes.
The most successful commercial property landlords work closely with their tenants because they understand that if their tenants have a successful business, they will be more stable and stay longer. Taking a collaborative approach and building strong relationships with tenants generally works best in the commercial rental space.
Commercial leases are different from residential ones and there are a number of things you need to know about renting out commercial properties before you start. Finding an experienced property manager who specialises in commercial property is a good idea, especially if you are new to commercial property investment.