Whether you are a property owner with leasable land or space or an individual looking for space to lease, it’s important to know the basics of the types of leases that are most common in the commercial real estate world.
In a gross lease (also known as a full-service lease) the tenant pays a flat monthly rate while the landlord remains responsible for all operating costs of the property including taxes, insurance, and maintenance, as well as other expected costs, such as janitorial service. Because landlords must cover all of the property’s operating costs, the rental rate for gross leases is generally higher than for a net lease. In exchange for paying a higher rate, the tenant has the security of a fixed monthly rent payment, minimizing the possibility for variations in their operating costs, making budgeting more predictable and less complicated.
Net leases shift some or all the operating costs associated with a property to the tenants, and tenants are responsible for that cost in addition to their regular rent. There are three types of net leases: single, double, and triple. Tenants with a single net lease are responsible for one of the operating costs associated with the property, generally the property taxes. With a double net (net-net) lease, the tenant assumes the cost of two of the operating costs, generally the property taxes and insurance. With a triple net (NNN) lease, the tenant assumes all of the property’s operating costs, which include taxes, insurance, and all maintenance costs. Lastly, there is a variation of the triple net lease called absolute net lease (also known as a bondable lease). This type of lease relieves the property owner/investor from all financial obligations and risks associated with the property, including taxes, insurance, structural maintenance, and debt liability. All those obligations are passed on to the tenant normally in exchange for a lower base rent.
Benefits of Net Leases
From the landlord’s perspective, entering into a net lease can simplify the management and operation of the property, which can be especially beneficial if they own multiple properties. Furthermore, net lease rates are typically made for longer terms, which gives the landlord the benefit of long and stable income from the property.
Because net lease tenants assume more of the unpredictable costs associated with maintaining the property, their base rent is often at a reduced market rate. This can mean considerable savings in rent over the long term of the lease. While annual rent increases may be built into the lease agreement, they usually remain below the rate one would pay with a gross lease.
Yet another variation of a net lease is a ground lease. An owner with undeveloped land may enter into a ground lease in which the lessee agrees to incur the cost of developing the property (i.e., construct a building or business on the land) and in exchange, pays only a NNN lease on the land. Ground lease terms are long, generally 50 to 99 years, but when the lease term ends, the ownership of the both the building and the land revert to the owner.
Negotiating a Lease
Before entering into a lease agreement as “lessor” or “lessee”, know your options so that you can benefit the most from the deal. Agents at Kelley Commercial Partners have the knowledge and experience to walk you through the process and negotiate with your best interests in mind.