Does Your Commercial Property Comply?

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regulatory

ONE QUESTION often asked by inexperienced investors is whether or not you can manage your own Commercial property.

And clearly, the short answer is “Yes” … if you know what you doing.

However, owning a Commercial property means that you do have certain legal responsibilities. And among them are your property’s compliance with the various Essential Services requirements, under current Building Regulations.

Obviously, the rules and regulations will vary from state to state. But nonetheless, it’s something you need to be fully informed about.

For example: The objectives of the Victoria Act (from July 1994) include:

  • To establish, maintain and improve standards for the construction and maintenance of buildings;
  • To facilitate the adoption and efficient application of national uniform building standards and the accreditation of building products;
  • To enhance the amenity of buildings and protect the safety and health of people who use buildings;
  • To facilitate and promote the cost-effective construction of buildings; and
  • To provide an efficient and effective system for issuing building and occupancy permits.

You will find the Act sets out the legal framework for regulating construction of buildings, building standards and maintenance of certain building safety features.

Your Obligations

As a landlord, the Regulations require you …

  1. Identify and inspect all Essential Services to specific standards and frequencies.
  2. Keep hard-copy records of inspections on site.
  3. Complete and display the Annual Essential Services Report and the Occupancy Permit in the building.

Buildings constructed before July 1994 are not required to have an annual Essential Services Report. Nonetheless, all the safety systems must be properly operating and maintained.

This would include things like exit signs and paths of exit; and therefore, it would be prudent for you to keep records of all your maintenance checks.

However, if you were to undertake significant upgrade works to an older building … you would then be required to fully comply with current-day Regulations.

Bottom Line: While compliance may seem somewhat confusing and onerous, this is something your managing agent will be able to co-ordinate on your behalf — to ensure you meet all your legal obligations.

And therefore, the long answer is that … it would be in your best interests to appoint a competent managing agent — rather than try to muddle through on your own.

Chris Lang

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