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A Summary of Common Area Maintenance (CAM) Fees in Commercial Leasing

Quick Reference Overview of Commercial Lease CAM & Administrative Fees

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Summary of CAM Fees

  • CAM is an acronym for "Common Area Maintenance."
  • CAM expenses are allocated to tenants on a pro rata basis: the more square footage a tenant rents, the greater percentage of CAM expenses it must pay.
  • CAM fees are paid by the tenant (lessee) to the owner (lessor) to help cover the cost of overhead and operating expenses and landlords may try to include a wide variety of their expenses as CAM fees.
  • Common areas generally include space accessed, used, benefited by, or shared by all tenants, and almost always include hallways, elevators and stairwells, lobbies, and public restrooms.
  • CAM fees can also be charged for external spaces, like sidewalks and parking lots, and, in some cases, even for off-site facilities.
  • Administrative fees may be charged, based on a percentage of the CAM fee rate, for operating and maintenance costs associated with non-common areas or salaries - things that are not truly common expenses and expenses most tenants will object to contributing to.
  • Not all landlords charge CAM fees, but most still do, especially in commercial industrial space and retail leases.
  • No matter what a landlord calls fees, if you are paying for maintenance, taxes, and insurance, your lease is a Triple Net Lease - the least favorable of all leases for tenants.

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