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Office building owners face potential legal liabilities when adding new workplace amenities

Office Buildings

Office building owners face potential legal liabilities when adding new workplace amenities

To provide new services, landlords often engage with third-party vendors, which can present thorny legal liability.


By Peter Fabris, Contributing Editor | May 1, 2023
Office building owners face potential legal liabilities when adding new workplace amenities
Office building owners face potential legal liabilities when adding new workplace amenities

In the current post-pandemic environment, many workers continue to work remotely, and most tenants don’t need as much space as in pre-pandemic days.

The impact is higher vacancies in the office sector and owners desperately trying to retain and attract tenants. Many landlords in the war for tenants have turned to offering new workplace amenities such as conference room services, fitness centers with nutritionists, and high-end food and beverage offerings.

To provide these services, landlords engage with third-party vendors and these arrangements present the potential for some thorny legal liability, according to a column at GlobeSt.com. To prevent that, both parties must hash out details over responsibilities for the engagement to ensure that it works as expected.

For example, a contract should include clauses about who can access bank accounts and who provides accounting support for expenses and revenue. Also, the vendor must be in tune with requirements in the landlord’s insurance to prevent inadvertent actions that could negate coverage.

In addition, amenity vendors may be unfamiliar with the coordination needed to operate the building when it comes to things like elevator usage, HVAC, access to loading docks, trash disposal, and parking. Details like that, if not spelled out in advance, could lead to rancor between the landlord and vendor, or worst case, a legal confrontation.

Design and construction firms should be aware of this dynamic when renovating space for upgraded office enhancements, as it could complicate the programming process or even derail a project.

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