Rent it Right
The improvements you have mentioned seem pretty clearly to fall within the "benefits all tenants, benefits the landlord" group. ADA compliance, removal of asbestos, code-compliant doors, and fire sprinklers are surely aspects of any commercial space that will be required by most tenants. Thus, the landlord may be responsible for providing them.
Keep in mind that this default rule is just that -- a default rule in the absence of lease clauses that address the issues directly. There's nothing illegal or wrong if the lease says otherwise. If the parties agree, the tenant may become responsible for these and other capital improvements. But if there's no such agreement, the landlord will be on the hook for cost.
Janet Portman is an attorney and managing editor at Nolo. She specializes in landlord/tenant law and is co-author of "Every Landlord's Legal Guide" and "Every Tenant's Legal Guide." She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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