Specify Maintenance Responsibility for Dropped Ceiling

Specify Maintenance Responsibility for Dropped Ceiling



Q: The space I want to lease has a dropped ceiling. Should this area be addressed in the lease?

A: Yes. Otherwise, you could get into a battle with the owner over who should maintain that area. Make sure that your lease's definition of “Premises” addresses the area above the drop or suspension. If you want the owner to maintain that area, which is sometimes called the “plenum,” the definition of “Premises” should mention it. Then the owner can't argue that it's not responsible for maintaining that area (including remediation of any environmental hazards like asbestos there), because the “Premises” includes only the space up to the dropped or suspended ceiling—not the area above it.

Alternately, you may want the owner to stay out of the area above the dropped or suspended ceiling—because, for example, it may contain vital wires or cables for your business. If so, exclude that area from the definition of “Premises.”

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