When renting a property for your business, you have some responsibilities by law – but most will depend on what it says in the lease.
Health and safety
You must carry out a health and safety risk assessment in the workplace and take action to remove any hazards.
You’ll normally be responsible for:
- fire safety
- safety of electrical equipment
- gas safety – you must maintain equipment according to the manufacturer’s instructions, which could mean an annual inspection by a registered gas safety engineer to make sure appliances and pipework are safe
- managing asbestos
You’re also responsible for providing:
- a reasonable temperature
- enough space, ventilation and lighting
- toilets and washing facilities
- drinking water
- safe equipment
The Health and Safety Executive’s ‘Workplace health, safety and welfare: a short guide’ has more details.
Your landlord is responsible for any aspects of health and safety written in the lease (eg in communal areas). You must take reasonable steps to make sure your landlord fulfils these responsibilities.
If you get into a dispute with your landlord, you need to keep paying rent – otherwise you may be evicted.
If you don’t follow health and safety rules
You can be prosecuted if you don’t follow health and safety rules.
The main law covering health and safety at work in the UK is the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and local councils are responsible for making sure you follow the law.
Repairs and maintenance
Your lease should say who is responsible for repairs and maintenance of the property.
When you move out, you may have to pay for certain repairs, or return the property to the state it was in when you first rented it. The repairs you’ll need to make are called ‘dilapidations’ and should be written in the lease.
Any responsibility that isn’t mentioned in the lease will usually be yours as the tenant.