Making sense of a commercial lease isn’t easy, particularly if you haven’t signed one before. There are many new terms to learn and many differences from residential leases.
For example, a commercial landlord can sometimes pass maintenance requirements on to their tenants. If your landlord does perform maintenance and provides certain amenities, they will likely pass those expenses on to you in the form of common area maintenance (CAM) fees.
What kinds of amenities will commercial landlords include in CAM fees, and how much will they cost you?
CAM fees pay for services that benefit the entire building
Perhaps you rent just the single retail storefronts in a small roadside mall. Maybe you occupy a small office space in a larger facility. Amenities in and outside of the building used by all of the tenants or their visitors may contribute to the fees you pay.
For example, centralized security services, shared bathroom facilities and parking lots can all be part of the common areas that your CAM fees help pay to maintain. Utilities in areas shared by all tenants or throughout the building may factor into CAM fees. The same is true of landscaping, sidewalk maintenance and even repairs to the building.
Generally, landlords can include most any reasonable maintenance expenses in the CAM fees they assess. However, you may be able to negotiate how much you pay, whether you ask for a reduced flat-rate fee for a lower percentage because you will have fewer customers or staff members making use of the space than other tenants in the building.
Understanding the fees charged in your commercial lease can help you better negotiate beneficial terms.