Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus

Posts Tagged ‘maintenance’

IN THE NEWS: Real Estate Owners Upgrading Property As Economy Recovers

NJ BIZ reports that: Owners and property managers are back to making upgrades to technology and other improvements and maintenance to properties as the real estate market begins to improve.  ”While the real estate industry came to a standstill, technology continued to advance with products and solutions that offer enhanced efficiency and functionality,” said Mike Mullin, President of Integrated Business Systems, a Totowa-based property management and accounting systems provider . “Our clients are highly receptive to new tools that can make their day-to-day operations more profitable.”

In real estate, deciding which upgrades are worth the costs

Commercial Lease Variations

When entering into a commercial lease, one of the more important terms negotiated between the parties pertains to the manner in which the landlord will recoup its operating expenses. After all, commercial landlords are in business to make money. Without addressing its operating expenses, a landlord’s return on investment would be whittled away to nothing. While the more sophisticated players in the industry are thoroughly familiar with the various techniques available, many tenants – and some landlords – are not so well informed. What follows is a brief primer on some of the various methods utilized to protect the landlord’s return on its investment.

The most common form of commercial lease is the triple net lease. In a triple net lease, the tenant is responsible for its proportionate share (i.e. tenant’s square footage divided by the total building square footage) of property taxes, insurance, common area maintenance and utilities. These charges, commonly knows as “CAM, tax, and insurance” expenses, are in addition to the tenant’s base rent and any other expenses associated with the tenant’s occupancy (i.e. utilities, garbage collection, cleaning services and the like).  Many leases will estimate these charges for a particular year, and then reconcile the amounts with the actual charges incurred for the year. If the tenant paid too much in a particular year, the tenant will get a credit toward rent. If the tenant paid too little, it will receive an invoice from the landlord for the difference – usually payable as additional rent.

Another common form of commercial lease is what is known as a “base year lease.” A base year lease is often employed in office leases where the landlord is cognizant of his return on investment in the building taking into account current income and expenses. The “base year” is typically the calendar year in which a tenancy commences. Unlike the triple net lease, the tenant in a base year lease reimburses the landlord for its share of the landlord’s operating expenses only to the extent they exceed the amount of those expenses for the base year. While the concept of a base year is relatively simple to understand, it is critical for any tenant entering into a base year lease to gain an understanding of the history of the landlord’s operating expenses so that it may plan its budget accordingly. Also, a tenant should consider negotiating that the base year be projected a period of time in advance in order to protect itself from having to experience a rent increase shortly after commencing its term in those instances where the term commences relatively shortly before the base year ends.

Another type of lease used most often in multi-tenant and single tenant office buildings, as well as industrial and retail properties is the “gross lease.” In the gross lease, the landlord pays for taxes, insurance, and maintenance. The landlord collects a fixed base rent and pays the operating expenses out of them. Many of these types of leases will, however, contain an “escalation clause”, which typically requires the tenant to pay increases in operating expenses and tax increases over a base year figure or expense stop.

It is important that a tenant shopping for space have a basic understanding of how operating expenses are to be handled in their lease so as to avoid any unpleasant surprises down the road with regard to rent increases.

Best Way To Avoid The Anticipated Impending Green Litigation Rush

Going “Green” is one of the most talked about recent developments in the commercial real estate industry.  The idea behind the concept is to reduce the impact of a building project on the health of its occupants and the natural environment by the efficient use of resources, protecting occupant health, increasing productivity, and reducing waste pollution and environmental degradation. 

Laudable goals indeed.  But how are these goals achieved in the real world of commercial real estate construction while at the same time allocating the risks amongst the players appropriately and fairly?

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