Who Takes Care of HVAC Maintenance on a Commercial Lease?

If you’re a business owner that leases commercial property, you have to deal with maintaining the building’s HVAC system. Who should pay for this regular and necessary maintenance – the property owner or the tenant?

Get It In Writing

Regular HVAC maintenance – seasonal checkups, changing filters, and the like – is necessary to keep any commercial heating and cooling system in tip-top working condition. Skimping on this maintenance can result in costly repairs or premature system replacement.

It’s important that the responsibility for HVAC maintenance be written into the property’s lease. Including a detailed HVAC clause, agreed upon by both parties, helps to prevent misunderstandings and future conflict over this issue.

Four Ways to Deal with HVAC Maintenance on a Commercial Lease

There are four common ways to deal with HVAC maintenance on a commercial lease. First, the tenant and landlord can be fully responsible. Second, the tenant can be fully responsible. Third, the tenant can have limited responsibility. And finally, the landlord and tenant can share responsibility. Let’s examine all four options.

Situation 1: Landlord Has Full Responsibility

In instances where the building’s HVAC system serves multiple tenants, it is common for the landlord to be responsible for all maintenance. The landlord can also pass the cost of HVAC maintenance onto the tenants. This can be in the form of a monthly maintenance fee based on each tenant’s proportionate share of the leased space.

Situation 2: Tenant Has Full Responsibility

A more common situation is for each unit in the building to have its own HVAC system. That means the tenants are responsible to pay for the maintenance of these systems. This encourages each tenant to properly maintain their systems or be responsible for any resulting repairs.

The major fault with this option is that tenants are not required to properly maintain their systems. Thus increasing the odds that systems could fall into disrepair. This can result in the need for tenants to pay for expensive repairs or even replacements at the end of their lease periods. This can result in considerable conflict – especially if the tenant exits without making necessary repairs.

Situation 3: Tenant Has Limited Responsibility

Another option is for the landlord to make the tenant responsible for normal maintenance and repair. This can be with a cap on how much the tenant is responsible for. Any maintenance or repairs above this maximum dollar amount is paid for by the landlord. This would make the landlord responsible for all major repairs and replacements.

Situation 4: Tenant and Landlord Share Responsibility

Lastly, there is sharing responsibility for the systems. This approach is to split the responsibility for the HVAC system. In this arrangement, the tenant is typically responsible for normal maintenance and repairs. The landlord is responsible for replacing the system if necessary. In some instances, the tenant may only be responsible for repairs. This can be up to a set amount with the landlord paying for anything over that amount.

Let the Severn Group Help You Maintain Your Commercial Property’s HVAC System

Whether the tenant or the landlord is responsible for HVAC maintenance, The Severn Group can ensure that your system is operating in optimal condition. We’ve been providing HVAC maintenance and repairs for commercial properties since 2002 and can work with both tenants and landlords on a regular or as-needed basis. Contact us today to learn more about our HVAC maintenance services.

Also, make sure to check out our blog for more maintenance tips on your HVAC systems. You can learn more about commercial building HVAC. It is also a great resource for facility managers.