When you hire new employees, you do a background check to make sure that they are reliable and they don’t cause you any problems in the future. Unfortunately, too many business owners fail to take the same approach when leasing an office, and it comes back to bite them later on.
Taking on an office with high running costs or serious maintenance issues can put your business in a very difficult situation, so it’s important to run a background check before you sign the lease. These are some of the things to look out for.
Ask for a Maintenance History
Knowing what work has been done on the building in the past gives you an idea of what state it’s in and whether it’s likely to cause you problems. For example, if the boiler has been replaced in the last couple of years because it’s old, that’s a good sign. But if instead of being replaced, the old boiler is repaired once every year or two, it’s likely that you’ll have issues with it in the future. Look out for any maintenance problems that keep popping up over and over because they will cause you problems once you move in.
You also need to find out what your responsibility for capital expenditures is. This refers to any big maintenance issues, like roof repair, HVAC repair, foundation issues etc. and the tenant’s responsibility varies from property to property. If you are on the hook for all of this stuff and the building is riddled with problems, signing that lease is a dangerous move.
Check for Previous Criminal Activity
Criminal activity in your office building can reflect badly on you, even if you had nothing to do with the property at the time. If there is an ongoing investigation around the building, that could mean disruption from law enforcement, so you should always check if there is any previous criminal activity associated with the building. Before agreeing to the lease, have corporate drug testing carried out to determine whether the building has been used to manufacture or store illegal drugs. This is a bigger problem than people realize and many properties will be rented by criminal gangs and used for this purpose before they move on, and the landlord might not have a clue. Speak with the local law enforcement authorities too and see whether there are any crimes on record associated with the building.
Look for Potential Health Hazards
As an employer, you have a responsibility to ensure the safety and wellbeing of your staff. Making sure that your office building is free of potential health hazards is a big part of that. Sticking to health and safety regulations will eliminate most hazards, but you need to check for dangerous building materials, like asbestos or lead paint. Make sure that you check the age of the wiring in the building too because outdated electrics can be incredibly dangerous.
Before you sign the lease on an office building for your business, make sure to conduct a thorough background check first.