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Leasing Definitions - What is a "CAM" Fee? (Common Area Maintenance Fee)

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Definition: CAM is an acronym for "Common Area Maintenance." In commercial real estate many leases require the tenant (lessee) to pay a portion of CAM fees.

There are two basic calculations for CAM fees: Variable CAM fees, in which the amount a tenant is required to contribute increases based on a number of factors; and flat CAM fees where the fees are a fixed amount.

CAM expenses are based on a pro rata basis. Simply put, the more square footage a tenant leases, the greater the percentage of CAM expenses the tenant pays.

CAM fees vary considerably and cover a wide range of expenses landlords pay including repairs, insurance, property maintenance, and even in some cases salaries of administrative staff who run a business park.

Because CAM fees can be complicated and expensive, it is highly advisable to have an attorney review any lease that has CAM (or other special fee) requirements before a business owner signs the lease.

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