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Practical considerations for new owner of tenanted commercial property

Administrative Matters Post-Completion

What do I need to do after buying a tenanted property?

When you buy a tenanted property you need to make sure the seller hands over all the paperwork and records relating to the property. Having possession of these records will help you to manage the property more effectively and to comply with your legal obligations as landlord.

Title deeds 

You should have a full set of deeds relating to the lease. This should include the counterpart lease (the copy signed by the tenant) and any supplemental documents such as a side letter, a rent deposit deed, a rent review memorandum and licences to assign, underlet and alter. These documents need to be stored safely.

Some of these documents may place obligations on the landlord and it will fall to you, as the new landlord, to perform these obligations. The documents may also give you rights, e.g. a right to enter the property in certain circumstances such as to carry out inspections or make repairs. Review the documents carefully so you know what your rights are and how they can be exercised.

Financial records

You will need complete financial records relating to the property. Understanding the financial history will inform how you set up your own accounting system. The records should cover payment of rent and other sums by the tenant. If a service charge is in operation, the seller should hand over the service charge accounts.

Health & Safety records 

There is a wide range of legislation with which landlords must comply, particularly as regards health and safety. Records need to be kept to demonstrate compliance with the legislation. Ensure that you have:

• Asbestos reports and plans (Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012)
• Health and safety file for construction works (Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007)
• Energy performance certificate (Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012)
• Fire safety risk assessments and records (Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005).
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