ORLANDO-At first glance, renting out rooftop space sounds like a no-brainer for most property owners. But what happens when the tenant’s company goes broke and leaves the equipment up there? Who does the cleanup and at whose expense?

“The majority of the time the property owner will remove the equipment and those costs become part of the default,” Jason Kaiser, a senior office broker in the Orlando office of Trammell Crow Co., tells GlobeSt.com. “It should not be this way, but typically it is the way it ends up.”

Kaiser says “there are a few cases in which independent contractors will install the equipment for the tenant, and if receipt of services is owed after the tenant defaults, then the contractors will file a lien against the building” to make sure he gets paid.

Some property owners are lax in checking out a rooftop tenant’s creditworthiness because of the perception that a telecom company’s equipment does no daily wear and tear to the roof as there might be from humans working in a suite of leased offices below.

But Kaiser says that perception is often risky. Property owners need to do the same due diligence they practice with convention leases. In checking out a tenant’s creditworthiness, owners or their property managers should ask the tenant for audited financial statements of his business.

“Then, based upon the financials, you may need a letter of credit or a significant security deposit,” the Crow broker says.

As for rooftop clutter that might be seen from ground level, Kaiser says that situation can be eliminated by having the property manager or owner approve the location of the original equipment and any new equipment that might be added later. If the equipment is installed without prior approval, that could be a lease violation.

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