Claiming Essential Safety Measures from the Tenant
The Building Regulations 2018 require landlords of certain types of commercial premises to have Essential Safety Measures installed and maintained in their premises.
Landlords of retail leases were previously prevented from recovering these costs from the tenant. However, in September 2020, the Retail Leases Amendment Act 2020 (the Act) was passed that alters the obligations and rights of landlords and tenants of retail premises. The Act amended s251 of the Building Act 1993 to allow landlords to recover Essential Safety Measure costs from the tenant if they have agreed to pay those costs pursuant to the retail lease.
It is important to note however that the obligation for building safety remains the responsibility of the landlord and not the tenant.
What are Essential Safety Measures?
Essential Safety Measures are measures that must be taken in any property to ensure the safety of everyone inside. Essential Safety Measures include items listed in Schedule 8 of the Building Regulations 2018 and includes exit doors, exit signs, sprinkler systems, smoke control systems, smoke alarms, emergency lighting, fire hydrants, fire extinguishers, paths of travel to exits and mechanical ventilation.
Steps to recover Essential Safety Measure Costs
Essential Safety Measure costs can only be recovered by way of agreement/the Lease between landlord and tenant and must be disclosed as an outgoing. The tenant must agree to take responsibility for these expenses- either in part or in whole- as outlined within their lease agreement.
What to do moving forward?
You will need to negotiate your lease with either the landlord or tenant. It is important to outline in the lease and define the following:
- The items and expenses relating to Essential Safety Measures that are recoverable;
- The amount each party will contribute; and
- Which party is responsible for what maintenance is performed and when.
If you have any questions about your legal obligations regarding Essential Safety Measures or how to negotiate a current or new lease agreement, please contact one of our Real Estate Lawyers today for assistance.
Insight written by Sandra Le and Stewart Davis