Renting office space is an option that most smaller or starting businesses will be exploring when they reach the point of needing a physical business location. Much like renting an apartment or house, however, there come certain responsibilities to the renter that not everyone is aware of when they first start out. Even though you won’t own the space that you’re renting, you should still be aware of your responsibilities and the liabilities you could face should an accident occur on the property. Here are some of the things that you’ll be responsible for maintaining when renting office space.
The personal safety of your staff and clients will be your responsibility, so you’ll want to do everything possible to prevent any accidents or security breaches. If someone becomes hurt because of negligence or bad faith on your part, you could be forced to pay compensation and suffer other losses that put your company in jeopardy. To avoid any personal safety violations, it’s important that you have excellent security and remove any obstructions or other objects that could put someone in harm’s way. This includes clearing all walking and driving spaces that are on the property itself during snowy seasons, and ensuring a hazard-free workspace for your employees.
Maintenance and Repairs
According to Nolo.com, your lease may include a clause stating your duties for maintenance and repairs. In most cases, the maintenance and repair responsibilities only apply to the specific space that’s being rented and not the entire building unless you’re the only tenant. If your lease has one of these clauses, you’ll likely be required to clean and maintain all carpeting, bathrooms and kitchen appliances in your space. You may also need to hire a commercial electrician to address any electrical problems. Electrical work, plumbing, and structural integrity all become your responsibility as soon as you sign the lease.
Another thing that you’ll be responsible for is damage that occurs to the premises during your tenancy. You and your employees should be especially careful to not damage any walls, carpeting or office equipment throughout your tenancy. Before moving into your office rental space, it’s best to survey it and record documentation through writing, pictures and videos to point out any damages that are already present so that you won’t be held liable for them in the future. You’ll also want to do a walkthrough with the landlord before occupying the space and have him or her complete a checklist that verifies the presence of any existing damage.
Even though you’re only renting the space instead of buying it, you’ll still want to have adequate insurance coverage to protect you from certain liabilities since the landlord won’t be expected to provide it for you. General liability coverage is always a must for any business. You can also purchase a plan that includes equipment breakdown and business income protection. There are even policies available that cover theft by dishonest employees. Fire, flood, and electrical insurance should be included in the event of a natural disaster, otherwise you risk being held liable for those damages, as well.
Doing everything that’s necessary to protect your business should be a top priority when renting office space. By keeping things in order before, during and after your tenancy, you can save yourself a lot of extra time and money. Not only that, but by taking proper care of your rented property now, you’ll increase your rapport with other landlords that will be more willing to rent to you in the future.
Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.