Conseil0518 SoMe

Inspect your HVAC system before signing your lease

Have you found the ideal office space? A working space as you envisioned it, within your budget and located in your preferred area? Did the inspection of the premises show no flaws? Then you’d still better wait to sign the contract!

Now that you have found your perfect property that meets all your demands, you’re probably anxious to sign the lease… But you might want to hold off before signing…

Beware of hidden costs!
Before signing the lease, it is imperative for you to check the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning System, better known as HVAC. You’ll want to know if this system is in good repair without malfunction. Verify the ‘full guarantee’ section in the maintenance contract. These costs are usually at the owner’s expense. This way, you can determine how much you will pay in reality. It would be a shame if your company should incur more costs because of a failure to consult the maintenance contract.

An independent Tenant Representative will assist you on the negotiations for this.

50% of the electrical bill
If the HVAC item doesn’t seem to be ‘that important’, the following will surely make you change your mind…

The heating and air conditioning costs usually represent half of your electrical bill. We are talking about maintenance and combustibles. So, you may want to check that the system is in good repair and is functioning correctly. This way, you can get an idea of the exact size of your electrical bill, which you will have to settle each trimester for the rest of the lease.

A faulty heating often goes unnoticed…
A lot of tenants feel satisfied once their workspace has been inspected. Regulations state that the HVAC system must be inspected, however, this does not always happen. Turning the air conditioning on and off and checking the exterior of the installation, is often not enough. Problems with HVAC systems often go unnoticed. And if you take over an old and/or faulty system, it may cost you dearly over the months or years. Consider this a warning.

Protect your employees
All employers are responsible for the well-being in their company. For example, it is mandatory to have an air conditioning or ventilation system. The air also has to be cleaned regularly.

The main objective of an air conditioning system is to insure greater comfort, improve everyone’s efficiency and productivity, obtain a better air quality and maintain a pleasing temperature throughout the workday. If the installation is defective or in poor repair, the HVAC can turn create issues. A faulty air conditioning can make the internal air even more polluting than external air, which is harmful to your health. The recurring symptoms that can result from this, such as migraine and sinusitis, are even called: SBS, Sick Building Syndrome. This syndrome can be linked to a faulty or poorly maintained air conditioning system. To avoid such trouble, it is of paramount importance that you have the system regularly checked. Just like a good cleaning.

Demand transparency
For these reasons (the health of your employees and the size of your electrical bill), it is important for you to have a full overview of the HVAC (including a technical due diligence report), before confirming your agreement.

Remember these two issues:
- maintenance of the HVAC system, e.g. the condition of the convectors, a functioning ventilation system and appropriate thermostats;
- the full guarantee contract, including machinery and major works

The maintenance costs (based on the working space quota) are at your expense, yet some of the full guarantee is at the owner’s expense. About 40% of the machinery costs are covered by that same full guarantee.

Surround yourself with the right people
Save yourself unnecessary stress and get an independent Tenant Rep who works together with experts on technical issues. They will inform you of the condition of the HVAC system, and will also verify during lease negotiations what clauses in the contract relate to this. With an independent Tenant Rep, you will be able to sleep soundly, knowing you’re fully covered.

Conseil0518 SoMe Yves8 
Our chartered building surveyor gives you advice on what to consider before signing your lease.