Damage left behind

Question from V updated on 10th May 2013:

We have a commercial property where we have had change of tenants. The new tenants have identified damages to the property - a broken door and window. There is also a missing door which the old tenant replaced with a custom door which is not that secure. The old tenant said that this was due to burglary a while back, which he had failed to mention about the damages.Upon inspection it does look like the damage has been done with some force. My question is should we recover costs from insurance or from the old tenant? We have a high access of $1,000 and the repair work is more than this. However our fear is that our premium could go up by 20% or more because of the area. The old tenant was not a good tenant. I'm not sure how we can recover costs if it was a break in. Or should we cut our losses and do the repair ourselves and build a good relationship with the new tenant. You advice is much appreciated. 

Our expert Juliet Robinson responded:

Commercial tenancies are usually covered by leases which define the responsibilities of the tenant and the landlord. The Residential Tenancies Act does not apply to them. I suggest you raise the issue with the previous tenant and see if you can come to an arrangement over the damage. If you can’t agree, the Disputes Tribunal process is available to you. However, given the relatively small amount and your expectation that a claim will affect your insurance policy, you may consider it worthwhile simply to have the repairs done and foster a good relationship with your new tenant.

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