Many commercial landlords place the obligation to make repairs on the tenant, especially in single tenant properties. However, Massachusetts’ highest court ruled there are dangers in doing so. Even if the lease requires the tenant to perform repairs, a landlord can be liable for damages caused by unsafe conditions.

What to do if you are a landlord? A well drafted lease can:

  • Place the responsibility for repairs on the tenant;
  • Place the cost for repairs on the tenant;
  • Authorize the landlord to back charge the tenant or seek indemnification if it doesn’t make repairs.

What to do if you are a tenant? Document, document, and document again. There is no substitute for a written notice to the landlord regarding any premises defects. It is the best way to preserve rights.

For both landlord and tenant – Consult early with qualified counsel about repair obligations and other important lease terms.