Often on large industrial sites, the landlord and tenant will meet onsite monthly to discuss current repairs and maintenance issues and month after month, the same repairs get mentioned with the particular repair item getting progressively worse over time. Or our clients will raise these jobs with the landlord and all they hear is silence.
They may be major repairs to the fire system i.e. rusted piping which needs replacing, compressors which have reached end of life or in the case of a recent repair issue for a client of ours, the replacement of the ammonia sensors throughout their chilled facility, which were no longer reliable.
In these instances, where the plant and equipment have reached end of life, usually under the lease, the responsibility to rectify sits with the Landlord and it can be a significant expense. A familiar story tenants may hear, is there isn’t enough money left in this year’s capex budget and it will have to wait until the next financial year.
In an effort to work with the landlord (we always try to maintain a good relationship between both parties as one of the highest priorities), some repairs can be delayed until the following financial year and the tenant and landlord can work together to forecast an asset management replacement plan which works for everyone. However, where the delay places the tenant and its operations at considerable risk, we recommend the following course of action as a way to get things moving.
Put the Landlord on notice. We suggest formalising in writing and including the following within the letter or email.
1. Outline what the urgent repairs are and why you believe the responsibility sits with the Landlord to carry out. We suggest referring to the relevant clauses in the lease which reflect this position.
2. Explain the landlord’s failure to carry out the repairs is exposing both the tenant and landlord to considerable risk. We also recommend outlining these potential risks i.e. OHS, damage to stock, loss of productivity if it results in the site being shut down.
3. Put the landlord on notice that you require them to undertake the relevant repairs within a specified period of time that you consider reasonable.
4. Explain that if they fail to comply, you will hold the landlord liable for any loss or damage suffered as a result of their failure to rectify the repair immediately upon becoming aware of the issue.
Again, in most instances landlords will be reasonable and understand when a certain repair is urgent. The above scenario is to be used for when there is a clear risk to the business, you’ve had no response to date and immediate action is warranted.
If you have a repair issue and think the above may be an avenue worth pursuing, please get in contact and we can assist you with the process.