When Tenants Make Alterations

As a tenant to a commercial property, you might want to make various changes to your property so that it is more marketable.  Structural changes almost always need to be consented to by the landlord with a submitted plan for approval.  Nonstructural changes can sometimes be made if they are relatively simple, such as changing the carpet and the landlord already designated in the lease that such changes are ok.

For Landlords:

It might be prudent for you to have certain conditions for structural and non-structural changes made by the tenant.  This can include insurance to cover work done on the property in order to protect the property owner.  The property owner might also be choosy of who actually does the work.

After a tenant vacates, the alteration might be of no value because it only was beneficial to that specific tenant.  If landlords want certain alterations to be removed after the tenant vacates, he/she should designate so when approving the alteration.  Otherwise the tenant might claim that since the landlord approved the alteration, they should not be asked to pay to remove such alterations.  

For Tenants: 

Don’t expect the landlord to necessarily get back to you right away.  It is reasonable to request that the property owner submits a written reply within 5-15 business days that will explicitly explain the reasons that the alteration has been approved or denied and/or the conditions for approval.  In this way the tenant can make an appropriate response so as to meet this criteria.  If request are not made in this way, the landlord could take up a whole month or more to reply (if he’s not a good one) and the answer that you get will be a simple no without justification.