Commercial Tenants – What are you signing up to?

Standard commercial leases will include a clause that obliges the tenant to comply with all statutory obligations relating to the property.   Failure to comply with legislation will be a breach of the lease and the landlord may then have the option to forfeit.   It is imperative therefore, that you know what you are signing up to.   These are just some examples of the legislation that can affect your occupation:

Fire Safety

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires the ‘responsible person’ to carry out a fire risk assessment. Whilst the Landlord may share responsibility of being the ‘responsible person’, you still may be required to carry out works to ensure the property is compliant. Do you know when the last fire risk assessment was carried out?

Control of Asbestos

As tenant you are likely to be a “duty holder” under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 which means you have a duty to manage any asbestos risk. The cost of carrying out asbestos removal can be high but failure to comply with these regulations is a criminal offence so you need to review any existing risk assessment and consider commissioning your own. Are you aware when the last Asbestos Report was carried out and who holds it?

Energy Performance

As of 1 April 2018 it is illegal for the landlord to let a property out unless it has an energy rating above an “E” so you should ensure that the landlord has brought the property up to the required standard and that you do you not bear the cost of any requirement alterations.   We can advise you of your property’s EPC rating if you let us have the address.

Environmental contamination

Whilst the liability for such contamination ultimately lies with the person who caused the contamination, it is worth bearing in mind that if the original polluter can not be found, the owners or occupiers may end up bearing the cost.


The landlord may have agreed you can use the property for a specific use but this use may not actually be permitted under planning legislation. It is important that you fully investigate the planning position with the Local Authority.


The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 applies to any alterations or fitting out works. If you are carrying out any such works you will need to comply with these regulations. e.g. Maintaining a health and safety file or providing information for the landlord’s file.

If you would like any further advice on taking out a lease of commercial premises please contact Katie Williams, Associate Solicitor at or call 01905 677048

Thursfields’ Commercial Property team are available at any of our offices and surrounding areas – Birmingham, Worcester, Kidderminster, Solihull, and Halesowen.

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