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When you lease commercial real estate, no doubt you have high expectations for maintenance and repairs. The roof on any commercial building needs to keep its contents safe and dry. 

A good property owner will provide preventative and proactive roof maintenance to protect leased premises. That said, in the event of peril, or if a commercial roofing contractor does a poor job during an installation, it’s important to know what the tenant’s responsibility is when it comes to protecting the property and advocating for repairs.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Roof Leaks in Commercial Leases?

There are many reasons that a roof may leak, but age is the biggest factor. Commercial roofing systems are complex. They can be damaged or begin to deteriorate over the lifespan of the building. When roofing begins to fail, the landlord and tenant are both inconvenienced and suffer a loss.

The most common reasons a roof may leak include:

Damaged membranes

Critical membranes that seal a roof will age and deteriorate over time. As they age, foot traffic, branches, and weather can contribute to further damage and in a leaky roof.

Poor flashing

Roof flashing seals seams and edges where moisture can permeate and helps to direct the flow of rainwater away from vulnerable areas. Not only can metal flashing bend and break over time, but weather and temperature can also impact its quality.

Open penetrations from skylights and vent pipes

Anything that protrudes through the roof membrane, whether it be mechanics for venting, doorways, or skylights will require additional weatherproofing, grading, and flashing. Water can easily get indoors through any opening in the roof if it’s not properly sealed.

Poor gutters

Broken or misdirected gutters can lead to water damage in a commercial building. 


A roof that’s 15-20 years old is more prone to experiencing leaks than any new commercial roof, but a good property owner should be aware of changes in roof conditions to reseal and repair damage.

Who Is Responsible for Roof Repairs in a Commercial Lease?

Roofing repairs are the landlord’s responsibility; however, it’s always best for commercial tenants to have their own insurance policies to protect personal property that may be damaged, or loss of sales in the event that a store needs to close due to the roof leak. 

In some instances, it may be necessary to get legal advice if repairs aren’t promptly completed, or a threat of eviction arises.

If you see leaks in the ceiling or the walls, bubbling paint, discolorations in drywall, or observe pooling of water indoors, be sure to take photos and videos of the damage so that it can be reported to the property management company, building owner, and your insurance company.

What Is the Best Way To Fix a Leak in a Commercial Roof?

Commercial landlords need to make quick decisions when it comes to roofing repairs to protect their property and the personal property of its tenants. 

Water damage experts will gauge the extent of the damage, and can make recommendations for repairs. Fast solutions may include simple patching or new flashing, but sometimes an entirely new roof is necessary to fix commercial roof leaks.

If you recognize a problem, you and the property management company may be able to help reduce the likelihood of water damage. The following actions can help mitigate the damage until professionals arrive on the scene.

Call Now for Fast Commercial Roof Restoration Services

Water damage is difficult for both  commercial property owners and tenants. When time is of the essence, you can count on the fast and reliable commercial roof restoration services at ATI Restoration.

Consult with our team if you or your landlord needs help with water extraction or a mold problem that resulted from a roof leak. The experts at ATI Restoration are more than just roofers. They’re knowledgeable and well-connected, and can work closely with insurance companies. We will make every effort to help you get back to work.

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