Posted by Beachbum on May 08, 2009 at 21:17:39:
Sorry, it is tenant’s responsibility.
Commercial leases are, for all practical purposes, simply a contract, with terms that apply exactly as ultimately interpreted, by a judge. They do not involve Residential Landlord/Tenant laws and responsibilities. There is no concept of “normal wear and tear” in these contracts. It’s not personal, it’s just business.
Sadly, in my experience as a Property Manager, most small business owners never bother to read the terms of the lease, or ask questions prior to signing. They only concern themselves with answering the question “what will it cost me each month?”
I can’t tell you how many times I have seen commercial tenants go ballistic when CAM charges increase, or, as your situation, a major infrastructure component needs replacement or repair.
Even more unfortunately, many Property Managers and most Owners don’t make any attempt to point out these things at lease-up, as they are only interested in securing the tenant. They get your personal guarantee, and then when the time comes, they just shrug and wave the contract in your face. Of course, larger businesses and National Tenants are well aware, and their attorneys keep them generally out of trouble.
The Bottom Line is that it’s called NNN for a reason- basically ALL costs are passed back to the tenant, one way or another. All the Owner pays for is the dirt, and sometimes the structural envelope.
Always remember- in business, EVERYTHING is negotiable. It is far better, as a tenant, to negotiate BEFORE you sign!
FYI, there are some excellent standardized commercial forms on airea dot com.