Common Area Maintenance Charges

Negotiating Common Area Maintenance (CAM) Charges: Pitfalls and Best Practices

When entering into a commercial lease agreement, understanding the intricacies of Common Area Maintenance (CAM) charges is crucial. CAM expenses can significantly impact a tenant’s monthly rent and the overall cost of occupying a commercial space. To secure a lease with favorable terms, landlords and tenants must be well-informed about CAM charges, lease agreements, and negotiation strategies.

Understanding CAM Charges

CAM charges are a fundamental component of commercial leases. They cover various operating expenses associated with maintaining common areas of commercial properties.  Factors impacting the assessed value of CAM charges include the following:

  • Property Taxes: A portion of common area maintenance charges often goes toward covering property taxes for commercial property.
  • Security Services: Expenses for security services, which help maintain the safety of common areas, are often included in CAM charges.
  • Parking Lots: Expenses for maintenance and upkeep of parking lots are often included in CAM charges.
  • Landscaping: If there are areas requiring landscaping, those costs may be factored into the CAM charges.
  • Garbage Removal Costs: Costs associated with shared dumpsters and trash removal from common areas may be shared by tenants of commercial developments through CAM charges.
  • Square Footage: Common area maintenance charges are often calculated based on the square footage of the leased spaces in commercial developments. Tenants with larger spaces will typically pay higher CAM charges.
  • Lease Term: The length of the lease term can affect common area maintenance charges. Longer lease terms may provide more stability in CAM Costs.

CAM Reconciliation Process

Understanding the common area maintenance reconciliation process is essential for tenants. This process ensures that tenants pay their fair share of CAM expenses. Here is how it works:

  • CAM Reconciliation: Common area maintenance charges are typically reconciled annually, with tenants paying their pro-rata share based on their leased square footage. CAM charges may be assessed against tenants monthly or annually, depending on what their leases provide.
  • Lease Terms Matter: Commercial leases often dictate how CAM reconciliation is performed and how expenses are allocated. It is crucial for landlords and tenants to review these terms carefully.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

Poorly drafted CAM provisions can lead to ambiguity. If the terms of a commercial lease are ambiguous and there is a dispute about what they mean, this can lead to costly litigation to determine the rights and responsibilities of the parties to the lease.

It is important to thoroughly review the CAM provisions of a commercial lease before signing it. This permits the parties to negotiate lease terms that give them clarity about their rights and responsibilities related to paying for common area maintenance.

Negotiating CAM Charges

Negotiating common area maintenance charges requires a strategic approach.

  • Understand Lease Terms: Parties should thoroughly understand lease terms related to CAM charges and negotiate where possible.
  • Conduct Market Research: Being informed about prevailing CAM charges in the market can provide parties with leverage during negotiations.
  • Gather Information about the Leased Premises: Knowing what services are required to maintain common areas of a commercial development can help a prospective tenant or landlord negotiate CAM provisions that are predictable and that accurately reflect the costs of maintenance.
  • Consult Experienced Professionals: Engaging legal experts who specialize in commercial leases can be invaluable in negotiating favorable CAM charges.

Contact Our Southern Alabama Business Law Attorneys

In the world of commercial leasing, common area maintenance charges are a critical consideration. To secure the best deal and avoid common pitfalls, tenants must be well-versed in the intricacies of CAM charges, lease agreements, and negotiation strategies. While navigating this complex process can be time-consuming, it is essential for commercial tenants to fully understand these issues in order to secure a good deal.

Stone Crosby helps businesses in Alabama with commercial leases, including negotiating CAM charges. If you are seeking guidance on any business legal matters, contact us today at (251) 626-6696 or message us online to schedule a personalized consultation.