What Is Cam In Real Estate? (Solution)

Common Area Maintenance (CAM) expenses are fees paid by tenants to landlords to help cover costs associated with overhead and operating expenses for common areas. CAM expenses are usually defined in the lease to clear up any ambiguity as to what they entail.


What are typical CAM fees?

CAM admin charges are typically very negotiable, and if they’re included in the lease, they often range from 5% to 15%.

What does CAM mean?

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is the term for medical products and practices that are not part of standard medical care.

What is covered under CAM?

CAM charges are the cost that a landlord pays to operate and run a commercial property. This would include the common area maintenance, charges for cleaning up common areas, security for the property, property taxes, property insurance, repairs and maintenance.

What is a cam agreement?

CAM Agreement means that certain collateral allocation mechanism agreement by and between the Administrative Agent and the Lenders party hereto, substantially in the form of Exhibit B to the First Amendment, with such modifications thereto as the Administrative Agent and the Company may reasonably agree.

Are taxes part of Cam?

The operating expenses are the cost of operating the building. They include utilities, repairs, insurance, property tax, and management, among other things. CAMs also exclude property tax and insurance.

Can you negotiate Cam?

When negotiating CAM expenses, a landlord and tenant will need to agree upon which portions of the shopping center will be considered “common area” for CAM expense purposes. One of the most heavily negotiated aspect of retail leases involves determining what costs will be included or excluded from CAM expenses.

What is the purpose of CAM?

A camshaft acts as a timing device that controls the opening and closing of the intake and exhaust valves, as well as setting the valve overlap that occurs at the top dead centre on the exhaust stroke. The shaft is constructed with several journals that ride on bearings within the engine.

What does CAM stand for in business?

Chartered Asset Manager (CAM)

How is real estate Cam calculated?

Based on a tenant’s proportionate share of a building, CAM charges are a percentage calculated by dividing the square footage occupied by the tenant, by the total square footage of the building. The resulting number is called the lessee’s pro-rata share, and it is specified in the lease agreement.

Is Cam included in NNN?

CAMs are Common Area Maintenance, and NNNs are three nets, which include property tax, insurance and common area maintenance. CAMs typically include expenses such as landscaping, security, trash, scheduled maintenance, management fees, etc. CAMs are essentially one of the three nets in the NNN.

What are CAM reconciliations?

What is a CAM Reconciliation? CAM reconciliations are about making sure the common area maintenance expenses reimbursed by the tenants (as in a shopping center) match the actual amount of expenses incurred by the landlord during the prior year.

Is Cam included in straight line rent?

Under ASC 840, CAM was a lease component because it was included in executory costs. Under ASC 842, lease payments with fixed maintenance payments like CAM will be lower than the lease payments for the same lease under ASC 840 – unless the practical expedient is elected.

What Are CAM Charges in a Commercial Lease?

Real estate has traditionally been the preferred investment for people seeking to accumulate long-term wealth for their families and future generations. By subscribing to our complete real estate investment guide, you will receive assistance in navigating this asset class. When discussing a commercial real estate lease and the expenditures connected with that lease, it’s probable that you’ll hear the term “CAM charges” used. They are a crucial component of a real estate lease because they have a substantial influence on the net operating income (NOI) of the property as well as the amount of rent a tenant will pay to utilize the space.

What are CAM charges?

Landlords pass on the costs of common area maintenance to their tenants in the form of CAM charges. These maintenance expenditures may be associated with any other charges associated with the management and upkeep of the business property. This type of charge is commonly known by the abbreviation “CAMs” in informal conversations. Regrettably, there isn’t a universally accepted definition of what CAM costs actually entail. In some markets, the expenditures that are included in CAM fees might differ from one another, and even within a single neighborhood, from one landlord to another.

This provides some security for the property owner against cost rises, allowing the property’s return on investment to remain relatively stable.

While the landlord is protected from variable costs, the renter may find themselves in a difficult situation if costs increase.

Some landlords will put off certain maintenance and repairs if they have to carry the financial burden of the repairs and upkeep.

This assures that the renter will be provided with a clean and well-maintained environment.

What’s included in CAM?

CAM charges are typically comprised of all of the expenditures associated with repairing, maintaining, and cleaning the common spaces of a rented building. When it comes to CAM charges, the particular expenditures that are included are entirely dependent on the individual lease that a tenant and landlord agree on. There are two types of charges: those that are confined to a few specific items and those that are far broader, covering all expenditures associated with the property. However, there are some expenses that may be anticipated in most cases.

Parking lot maintenance

This may involve crack repair, resurfacing, repainting lines, and parking lot illumination, among other things.

Lawncare and landscaping

Mowing the grass, weed management, fertilizing, maintaining the irrigation system, pruning shrubs and trees, replenishing mulch, and planting flowers are all examples of common lawn care and landscaping charges.

Snow removal

This cost, of course, varies tremendously depending on where you live. Snow removal expenses can also vary dramatically from one year to the next, depending on the amount of snow that falls in the area during that period.


Everyone’s best interests are served by keeping the sidewalks in good condition. It’s critical to the safety of everyone who comes to the property, whether it’s rebuilding broken pieces or keeping it clean of snow and ice.


If the property has common corridors that are used by several tenants, the property manager is normally in charge of maintaining them clean and well-lit for the tenants.


A common feature of multi-unit business buildings is the presence of communal toilets. Regular cleaning and stocking of supplies are required for these facilities.


If the building has elevators, there will be maintenance costs associated with keeping them in good working order.


Renters who use these utilities typically pay the costs of these services, such as lighting the parking lot, providing water to the restrooms, and providing heat for the halls, which is normally split among the tenants that use them.

Other operating expenses

Different properties have their own set of requirements, and the costs connected with those requirements are frequently shared by the tenants of the property. This might include charges like as on-site management, security, or any number of additional expenses associated with the administration and maintenance of a commercial property, among other things. The following are examples of additional running expenditures that are commonly included in the common area maintenance charges included in a lease, some of which go above and beyond what many would consider “maintenance”:

  • Maintenance on the building
  • Property management fees
  • Administrative charges
  • City licenses
  • Property taxes
  • Property insurance
  • And any additional expenses that the landlord may like to include

Do all commercial lease terms include CAM charges?

Not all rental homes include CAM fees in their lease terms and conditions. In retail, warehouse, and industrial buildings, it is more common to see these maintenance costs imposed to tenants, but in office leases, they are commonly included in the rent rather than being charged as a separate charge.

Types of commercial real estate leases

Whether or not CAM fees are levied to the renter is determined on the type of lease that was signed by both parties. The terminology listed below may have somewhat different meanings in different markets, but they represent the fundamental terms and prices connected with the various lease forms in each area.

Triple net lease, or NNN lease

A triple net lease is one in which the renter pays all of the CAM costs and assumes practically all of the duties. In addition to the rent, the renter is responsible for their pro rata portion of property taxes, insurance, and common area maintenance. For the most part, the landlord’s main job is to cover the costs of capital improvements. Building renovations or repairs are considered capital expenditures in this context, as are improvements or repairs done to the property and/or parking lot.

Examples include situations where the renter is only liable for HVAC repairs up to a particular monetary amount per year or where the tenant is only responsible for certain types of maintenance.

The majority of retail assets, including restaurants, strip malls, shopping complexes, and single-tenant buildings, are leased on triple net terms.

Due to the predictability of the net cash flow, real estate investment trusts (REITs) and other investors typically prefer to acquire buildings with triple net leases in place rather than those without.

Net net lease, or NN lease

In a net net lease, the tenant is responsible for their portion of the property taxes and insurance premiums. The landlord is responsible for all of the maintenance in the communal areas. Despite the fact that this sort of lease is less prevalent than a triple net lease, it provides advantages in some instances. Potential renters may find this sort of contract to be appealing since it reduces their exposure to risk. A net net lease is also more prevalent when the expenditures for common areas are split among numerous properties within an investor’s portfolio, which is the case in most cases.

Net lease

A net lease is a type of lease that is not widely utilized. It is only necessary for tenants to pay their share of property taxes under this form of lease, while the landlord is responsible for the expense of property insurance and common area upkeep. Normally, a net lease has a higher lease rate than a net net lease, and in some cases, a triple net lease has a higher rate than a net lease.

Gross lease

It is referred to as a gross lease when the landlord assumes responsibility for all of the costs of the property, including taxes, insurance, and common area maintenance. In office buildings, this is a relatively popular sort of leasing agreement. To be eligible for a gross lease, the tenant must merely agree to pay a fixed rental amount that does not fluctuate with changes in property taxes, insurance rates, maintenance costs, or any other operational expenditures from year to year. In many gross leases, the landlord will even pay for the tenant’s utilities, and some landlords will even go so far as to pay for their tenants’ housekeeping expenses as well.

Other differences across markets include the way expenditures are split between landlords and tenants, which varies slightly depending on the market.

It’s critical that everyone participating in the lease understands exactly what they’re signing up for and what they’re paying for.

However, while passing on CAM expenses to the tenant is commonly thought to be the most advantageous lease for the landlord, the running costs on a given property may produce a superior return on investment with a gross, net, or net net lease depending on the circumstances.

How are CAM charges calculated?

Landlords may opt to charge renters for CAM charges in a variety of methods, depending on their preferences.

Some approaches are intended to be simple, but others need a more extensive accounting record keeping. How CAM costs are computed is determined by what makes the most sense for the property owner and the specific piece of real estate in question.

Pro rata share of square footage

It has been reported by the National Association of Realtors that the most often used method of calculating CAM costs is to determine each tenant’s pro rata portion of the total square footage of the property. Each renter is then responsible for paying their proportionate part of the property’s expenditures, which is determined by the amount of space they use. One method of determining CAM costs is to divide the entire cost of common area maintenance by the total square footage of the property in order to obtain a cost per square foot (psf) for CAM charges.

  • As an illustration: CAM costs were $100,000 during the year.
  • After that, a CAM fee of $5 per square foot will be applied to each tenant’s rent to support the costs of the building.
  • Consider the following scenario: the same structure employs this strategy while a piece of the property is empty.
  • 12,000 square feet of space is currently occupied.
  • Because the majority of the building’s maintenance expenditures will stay the same, despite the fact that just a section of the structure is now occupied, each tenant’s share of spending will be much greater.
  • In certain buildings, the tenants do not have equal access to the common spaces, and this is referred to as shared usage.
  • In order to deal with this, the landlord must first establish which expenditures each renter should be accountable for and then compute the rates for each item separately.
  • One of the most frequent methods of charging renters for common area maintenance (CAM) costs is to charge them depending on the total square footage they occupy.
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Load factor

According to some contracts, the CAM costs are included into the rent by levying a fee on a piece of the common property. The following is an explanation from Natalie Wainwright, VP of office tenant representation at LOGIC Commercial Real Estate: “Landlords with a Class A product are more likely to provide a full-service gross lease, which will account for the CAM costs by include the common area in the lease.” As a load factor, the shared space is included in the rental price. Using the load factor, you can figure out what proportion of the building is utilized for common areas, then multiply that figure by the amount of useable square footage in the rented space.

The following is an example from Wainwright: “If a tenant is paying rent on a facility that is based on 5,000 rentable square feet, but only has 4,500 of useable space, they are paying around 10% in the form of a load factor.” As an illustration: Building area: 100,000 square feet 10,000 square feet of common area 10,000 square feet of common space divided by 100,000 square feet of total square footage equals ten percent of the total square footage.

Rentable square footage is equal to the sum of usable square footage plus a ten percent load factor.

Fixed CAM costs

Leases for commercial real estate are increasingly being structured with fixed CAM rates. Shopping malls are streamlining their CAM fee structures by converting to fixed CAM costs, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. This is in response to demand from anchor tenants, which is being met by various property managers and asset managers, the council says. A flat price for common area upkeep is established by the property owner, who then adds tiny annual increments to that rate to account for inflation.

It is possible to have fixed CAM charges that apply to both property taxes and insurance as well as real maintenance expenses, or to have fixed CAM charges that solely apply to maintenance costs and leave the property taxes and insurance up to adjustment.

Smaller investors might find themselves in difficulties if expenditures rise significantly over the established CAM charge, but bigger REITs will be able to absorb these costs with relative ease.

Capped charges

Tenants may choose to bargain with their landlords to establish an upper limit on the amount of money they will be obliged to pay for their share of common area maintenance when the CAM charges are based on real expenses. In addition to protecting tenants from unexpected increases in their lease payments that are outside their budget, putting a restriction on CAM charges also helps protect tenants against unexpected surprises at the beginning of the year. As a result, the landlord is exposed to the possibility of having to fund additional expenditures themselves.

When negotiating the lease rate, the landlord may agree to a cap on maintenance expenditures in order to obtain the rental rate they desire.

Whatever else a tenant and landlord agree to

Unusual circumstances may necessitate a different method of computing expenses, and the method of calculating CAM charges may differ from that outlined in the present lease terms of another tenant who currently occupies space in the building. The landlord may agree to exclude particular expenditures from the charges for one tenant, or he or she may even agree to waive all or a portion of the CAM charges for a specified length of time, depending on the circumstances.

What Does CAM Mean in Commercial Real Estate?

CAM is an abbreviation for common area maintenance, and CAM fees are frequently included in commercial leases for office space in multi-tenant business parks and industrial parks. They are monthly fees that are used to pay the costs of different maintenance requirements for the building and/or parking garage. You lease a tiny section of the property together with the other tenants when you lease a commercial business space in a building.

Each renter is responsible for the upkeep of the inside of their space as well as payment of their proportionate share of CAM expenses. The following are examples of CAM fees:

  • Property maintenance, insurance, repairs, administrative fees, pest control services, and security services are some of the costs involved.

With the monthly CAM fees collected by the landlord, the landlord may keep the common spaces of a property in good condition. It is also possible that the landlord and tenant will agree on a certain amount for common area maintenance fees in the CAM charges portion of the lease. A well-written contract that includes correct CAM computations assists both the renter and the landlord in understanding their respective responsibilities. A detailed listing of all charges covered by the CAM fee should be included in the lease, and this list should be verified by the renter.

Types of CAM structures

Each landlord and tenant scenario is distinct, and landlords may utilize different CAM structures according on their costs and how long they have held the property. The following are four different types of CAM structures:

  • There is no year-end audit or rate revision with fixed CAM
  • The monthly CAM price remains the same every month. CAM expenses grow on a yearly basis in accordance with forecasted expenditures calculated on a cumulative basis
  • Year-over-base cumulative cap Year-over-year cap on CAM expenditures: This cap on CAM expenses is based on the lesser of the previous year’s expenses or a cap that favors the tenants. a cap on year-over-base compounding: While the initial year’s base remains unchanged, every subsequent year the cap % grows at a compounding rate that is favorable to landlords

How are CAM charges calculated?

In CAM structures, the percentages are determined on a pro-rated basis. This means that the more the amount of square footage a tenant rents, the greater the amount of CAM charges they are obliged to pay. The expenditures are proportional to the percentage of the overall property space that your space occupies, for example, 10 percent or 45 percent of the total property space. For example, if a tenant occupies 30% of a property’s area and the landlord incurs $3,000 in monthly expenditures for the property, you may expect to pay 30% of the total monthly expenses incurred by the landlord.

After that, determine how much square feet the renter has taken up.

This equation may appear similar to this: If the tenant rents 30,000 square feet and the gross leasable space is 100,000 square feet, then the equation may look like this: 30,000 divided by 100,000 equals 0.3 times 100 equals 30% This indicates that a renter is accountable for 30 percent of the property’s common area maintenance expenses.

Crucial Tips

It is calculated on a proportional basis for CAM structures. This means that the more the amount of square footage a tenant rents, the greater the amount of CAM charges the renter is responsible for. Ten percent of the total property space is equal to 10 percent of the total property space; 45 percent of the total property space equals 10 percent of the total property space. For example, if a tenant occupies 30% of a building’s space and the landlord incurs $3,000 in monthly expenditures for the property, you may expect to pay 30% of the total monthly expenses incurred by the renter.

After that, determine how much space the renter has used up.

This equation may appear similar to this: If the tenant rents 30,000 square feet and the gross leasable space is 100,000 square feet, then the equation may look something like this: Thirty thousand percent of one hundred thousand percent is three hundred percent.

According to this calculation, if the entire monthly real estate expenditures equal $3,000, then the dollar amount is determined as follows: $1,000 multiplied by three equals $910. A total of $900 per month in CAM fees should be paid by the renter.

  • Investigate the CAM structures. Learn everything you can about CAM structures, and then assess which structure is the greatest fit for your company’s operations and operational costs. Make an appointment to speak with a real estate agent or lawyer about CAM and ask any concerns you may have before signing the lease
  • Negotiate. Many landlords are willing to work out a deal on CAM fees with their tenants. Provide the landlord with the CAM figures that you feel are reasonable for you to pay, and ask them to meet you in the middle on the payment
  • Verify the amount of space available. Verify the square footage of your unit to ensure that the quantity supplied by your landlord is accurate before moving in. The CAM price is calculated based on your square footage, and providing false information might result in you paying more money to the landlord than is required. Check to see that the calculations are correct. Calculate and agree to the CAM costs yourself before signing the lease and paying the fees to the landlord. Please forward the fee amounts to your accountant or real estate agent for computation, as appropriate. Keep accurate records and reports. You should keep track of each CAM charge you have paid and a list of the itemized CAM you have paid for. Set a limit on the amount that can be spent. Some landlords may allow you to establish your own cap amount, so check with them first. Discuss a reasonable sum that you will not be willing to pay if the costs of common area upkeep surpass that level.

CAM real estate FAQs

A few commonly asked questions concerning cost-of-living adjustments (CAM) in real estate include:

Where are CAM expenses in a commercial lease?

You may locate CAM expenditures on a business lease in the lease abstract section of the contract. Lease abstracts are descriptions of individual leases that contain topics such as renewal rights, rent hikes, parking, and common area maintenance costs (CAM) charges, among other things.

Are CAM expenses reassessed each year?

Landlords frequently reconcile or evaluate CAM costs on a monthly or quarterly basis to ensure that renters are paying the correct amount. This is because they estimate CAM charges for the year and hence estimate CAM charges for the year.

What types of commercial real estate properties use CAM charges?

Commercial real estate properties that are subject to CAM expenditures include the following:

What are some things that are excluded from CAM expenses?

Things such as the replacement or upgrading of the following items are exempt from CAM expenses:

  • Parking lots, walkways, driveways, landscaped areas, loading and unloading zones, trash areas, roads, elevators, roofs, and exterior walls are all examples of what you might expect. Irrigation systems are used to water crops. Lighting for common areas
  • Fencing and gates
  • Tenant directories and outdoor signage
  • Fences and gates

Common area maintenance charges – Wikipedia

General maintenance charges, or CAM for short, are one of the net charges issued to tenants in a commercial triple net (NNN) lease. These charges are paid by tenants to the landlord of a business building. It is an extra cost that is collected on top of the base rent and is mostly comprised of maintenance fees for work conducted on the common area of a property. In addition, each tenant is responsible for their pro rata part of the overall CAM costs for a property, with the prorated amount equal to the percentage of rentedsquare footage of the total, rentable square footage of the property.

It is thought that every renter benefits from a clean environment and should bear some of the financial burden of maintaining it.

Breakdown of charges

CAM charges are negotiated between the landlord and the tenant before the lease is signed, therefore the charges differ from lease to lease, and the running expenditures that can be charged as CAM charges by the landlord differ from one tenant to the next. In general, landlords want that CAM charges be defined broadly enough that they may pass through a large portion of their running expenditures to their tenants. The tenant often wants the definition of CAM charges to be as limited as possible in the expectation that the landlord would cover the vast majority of the running costs.

CAM costs can be divided into two subcategories: those that can be controlled and those that cannot.

All additional expenditures that are levied as a CAM fee are deemed to be controlled expenses.

Administrative fees are a proportion of the total cost of managing and maintaining a property that has been negotiated.

Managerial fees are determined by the management business as a percentage of gross rentals collected, which proportion is established in a lease agreement between that company and the property owner.

Caps and Floors

As tenants move in and out and as other inflationary factors occur, the amount of CAM costs charged might vary significantly. In turn, this can make predicting future cash flows for both the renter and the landlord difficult to do with any degree of precision. This is addressed by the inclusion of “cap” and “floor” provisions in leases that limit these fluctuations to fixed levels on a year-over-year basis. Capping CAM charges restricts the amount by which CAM costs can climb each year, and is expressed as a percentage of the total amount charged.

  1. Caps can be cumulative or compounded, and they can be computed as a percentage of the base year or as a percentage of the previous year.
  2. Annual caps indicate that the percentage increase is applied on the actual CAM fee from the previous year rather than a base amount in the current year.
  3. As an example, a yearly 5 percent cap would increase the cap by 5 percent each year, such that the first year would be a 5 percent cap, the second year would be a 10 percent limit, the third year would be 15, and so on.
  4. It is not necessary to impose the cap if real CAM costs are less than the cap.
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In situations where there is some expectation that CAM charges will increase over time, even if there is no inflation in a given year, floor budgeting can be used to budget in a minimum increase in the charges, with the expectation that it will lessen the impact of a more significant increase in the future.


Recovery of Common Area Maintenance Charges (CAM Recoveries) is the yearly reconciliation of real common area maintenance rates for a fiscal year versus the monthly charges invoiced to the tenant. This process is also known as reconciliations, true-ups, pre-bills, or billbacks. It is really estimations of the tenant’s monthly, pro-rated CAM costs for the current fiscal year that are included in the rent that are collected from the renter on a monthly basis. The estimate is prepared by the property manager based on the budget for the property.

The difference is either paid to the landlord or the tenant.


It is necessary to clearly identify and pay for “common area maintenance” expenses in the lease when purchasing a commercial real estate asset that is leased to one or more tenants, including a triple-net (NNN) leasing property, in order to avoid misunderstandings later on.

An accounting of those charges that may be undertaken at the end of the year in order to “reconcile” real charges is referred to as CAM reconciliation.

What Are CAM Charges?

First, let us define CAM costs, often known as “c ommon area maintenance,” in greater depth. A property’s common area maintenance charges (CAM charges) are running costs that are levied in addition to the basic rent for exactly what the label indicates – maintenance fees for work performed and upkeep on the common areas of a property, such as parking lots, outdoor lighting, and landscape. Other expenditures associated with maintaining or repairing communal spaces that are shared by renters include as follows:

  • Snow removal
  • Trash disposal
  • Janitorial and pest-control services
  • Security
  • Liability insurance
  • And real estate taxes are just a few examples of the services available. Signage in the center
  • Utilities in the common area
  • HVAC maintenance in common areas
  • Administrative/property manager charges incurred by the landlord

Additionally, capital expenses such as repaving a parking lot or repairing an HVAC unit may be included in the CAM calculation as well.

How to Calculate CAM

Based on a tenant’s proportionate part of a building’s square footage, common area maintenance (CAM) costs are computed as a percentage derived by dividing the tenant’s total square footage by the total square footage of the building. Amount resulting from this calculation is referred to as the lessee’s pro-rata share, and it is stipulated in the lease contract. One method of establishing CAM costs is to look at the CAM expenses over the previous 3-5 years and pick the highest amount from that list.

  1. If the real amount ends up being less than anticipated, it’s simple to provide a credit or a refund to make up for the discrepancy in the amount.
  2. Utility bill estimates may be acquired quickly and easily by calling the appropriate utility providers and requesting copies of last year’s billing statements.
  3. It is more difficult to estimate the cost of other sorts of services such as landscaping, snow removal, and garbage disposal.
  4. Once you have all of the numbers, you should adjust them somewhat to account for any unexpected building expenditures that may arise, as well as for any repairs or maintenance that may be required.
  5. At the end of the year, the real CAM expenses are totaled; if the total is greater than what was paid, the difference is refunded to the tenant, or, in the case of a negative difference, the tenant is responsible for the cost of the difference.

Reconciliation of CAM charges occurs at the conclusion of the fiscal year and is referred to as CAM reconciliation. As a rule, most renters will not request a reconciliation, in which case any excess funds are transferred to you as the property owner.

CAM Costs Depend on the Type of Lease

It is not mandatory for all landlords to pay for CAM charges. Depending on the type of lease, tenants may be required to pay the entire sum or only a portion of it. As an example, under a fee-simple lease, as well as a single-net lease, double-net lease, or triple-net lease, the tenant will be liable for at least a share of the common area maintenance expenditures. The landlord is responsible for maintenance and insurance expenditures, while the tenant is responsible for a prorated portion of property taxes under a single-net lease arrangement.

  1. A gross lease, also known as a full-service lease, is one in which the tenant pays a single price that covers all of the costs of the lease.
  2. A greater rent per square foot is paid by the renter, but this helps him or her to better predict future expenditures.
  3. This configuration is also adaptable.
  4. You can also charge renters extra for excessive usage of common spaces if they overdo them.
  5. As an absolute triple-net lease property owner, calculating CAM is straightforward since the tenant is responsible for 100 percent of the costs as stipulated in the lease agreement.
  6. Walgreens, Dollar General, and McDonald’s are examples of tenants with excellent credit that pay for all of their own upkeep and expenditures.

To Wrap it Up – CAM ChargesNNN Lease Investments

If you are considering investing in commercial real estate, make sure to research the asset classes, tenant kinds, and lease types before making a decision. Also, do a thorough investigation into CAM, OpEx, and CapEx before making a purchase — this will save you time, money, and legal headaches in the long run. Currently possess a high-maintenance rental property that requires hands-on management and CAM reconciliation every year? If so, contact us now. It may be time to move up to a NNN property by taking advantage of the Internal Revenue Service’s tax-deferral benefit – the 1031 exchange – which allows you to sell and postpone capital gains tax on 100 percent of your earnings.

Our experienced advisers provide unbiased counsel, education, information, and advocacy – all at no cost to you or your organization. Call 314-997-5227 today for a free, no-obligation consultation about your legal options.

Common Area Maintenance: What You Need to Know about CAM — The Cauble Group

Commercial real estate is rife with industry slang and acronyms. Triple net, cap rate, and CAM are all terms that are thrown about like they’re common English. Whether you’re seeking to lease or invest in commercial real estate, you’ve probably come across the expression “cost-plus-additional-money.” What you need to know is as follows:

What is Common Area Maintenance?

An extra rent price for common area upkeep is designed to cover any costs associated with the day-to-day running of the building or complex. The increased rent expenditure is not meant to be a profit center for your landlord; rather, it is one of the three “nets” in the triple net rental arrangement (NNN).

What Is Common Area?

Any location that is shared by two or more tenants is referred to as a “common area,” which means that no one tenant has exclusive access to that space. After all, someone has to be responsible for keeping that region in good condition, right?

Maintaining the Common Area

As opposed to the tenants squabbling over who is accountable for maintaining the common spaces, the landlord and/or property management firm assumes this task. They are in charge of collecting the money from renters and supervising the management of the area. In most cases, these charges are completely covered in your business lease, so that there is little to no uncertainty as to where the landlord’s obligation ends and the tenant’s burden begins. There is no set of expenditures that is universally applicable.

Unfortunately, there are no “standards” for commercial leases, as there are for many other elements of business leasing.

  • Property Type, Number of Tenants, Layout of the Property, Age of the Building, Climate of the Region, and Property Class are all important considerations.

These fees will be negotiated between landlords and renters prior to the signing of a lease. As a result, while the rates may vary from lease to lease, they are frequently relatively consistent. After all, landscaping is landscaping, and window cleaning is window washing, as the saying goes! However, it is feasible to limit the amount by which these expenditures might change from year to year, as we will discuss more in the article..

Two Types of CAM

The cost of common area upkeep may be divided into two categories: controllable expenditures and uncontrolled expenses–both of which are extremely clever titles, I know. Cleaning supplies and parking lot upkeep are examples of costs that the landlord will have direct control over, such as cleaning supplies and parking lot maintenance. On the other hand, uncontrollable expenditures are those that are beyond the landlord’s control and include items such as real estate property taxes and building insurance.

Common Charges You’ll Find

There are a variety of services that are frequently invoiced to renters. These services include:

  • Maintenance of administrative and management systems, advertising and marketing campaigns, electric and elevators, general building maintenance, janitorial, landscape and lighting, parking lot and lot maintenance, security, sidewalks, water, and window washing are all included.

Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list, and that each property has its own set of special common area objects to consider. CAM is normally computed on a yearly basis and invoiced to renters in conjunction with their rent on a monthly basis. Because it is frequently only an estimate of the real expenditures, property managers and owners will base these statistics on the actual spending from the previous year when creating their yearly budget. The overall estimate for common space upkeep is then distributed proportionally among the tenants of the building depending on the square footage of their respective units.

When calculating the tenant’s pro rata share, divide the tenant’s square footage by the total leasable area of the building to get the result. Because landlords want to make this additional rent price as manageable as possible for renters, they will charge a lesser amount on a monthly basis.

Annual Reconciliation

The costs will be reconciled at the end of each year by the building’s property management or by the building’s owner. They do a comparison between the budget and the actual expenditures in order to ascertain the genuine spending for the year. If the expenditures turn out to be less than what was anticipated at the start of the year, the renter will be granted a credit for the overpayment that they made earlier in the year. Tenants will be liable for paying up the difference if CAM proves to be more expensive than first anticipated by the landlord.

Budgeting Best Practices

In my experience, it is best to overestimate the amount of money that will be spent during the year. Instead of having to bill renters to cover the real expenses at the end of the year, the landlord will be able to compensate tenants for any overpayments they make during the year. Tenants will find it much easier to deal with.

What Types of Properties Have Common Area Maintenance?

Any sort of property might have additional rent charges tacked on to the end of the lease. Essentially, the main purpose of these fees is to guarantee that any expenditures linked with the spaces that are shared between tenants are controlled and properly invoiced. These fees are not just found on properties with several renters; they may be found on any property with multiple tenants. Property Owners Associations (POAs), which are similar to Homeowners Associations, control retail malls and office parks that have numerous separate owners and are managed by the POA.

  • Retail, office, industrial, hospitality, multifamily, and any other sort of commercial real estate are all acceptable uses for commercial property.

The costs of common areas might differ significantly from one property to another. And if they are not properly controlled, they can spiral out of control and become quite expensive. While the additional rent isn’t entirely negotiable, tenants have the option of putting a ceiling on their financial responsibilities.

How CAM Caps and Floors Are Handled

In order to do this, some leases will include “limits” or “floors” that limit the amount by which these expenditures can change on a yearly basis. These ceilings are sometimes expressed as a percentage of the total costs levied. Example: Tenant is accountable for its pro rata share of any rise in Building Operating Costs over the base year 2020, which shall not grow by more than 5 percent per year in the following years: These yearly increases may be cumulative or compounded, depending on how the terms are stated or negotiated.

What Caps and Floors Accomplish

Alternatively, if the actual costs are less than the cap, the cap is not applied. On the other hand, landlords are not normally required to impose a “minimum” common area maintenance factor cap on their tenants. They are meant to guarantee that the management firm or building owner is accountable for the money spent on common spaces and that the money spent on common areas is not excessive.

Determine What is Actually Covered

It’s critical to understand exactly what is included and covered by CAM services. It is customary for landlords and property management firms to seek a wide and all-encompassing definition of common area upkeep that allows them the most freedom in maintaining and managing their properties. However, tenants will want to restrict what is deemed their share of the common space, and hence what is their duty, in order to protect their investment. When it comes to business leases, common area costs are among the most carefully contested and examined parts.

Any capital expenditures, property management fees, salaries paid to any employees of the property, leasing commissions and fees, and so on, should be thoroughly investigated to ensure that the funds collected are being used to maintain the common areas of the property in the most efficient manner possible.

There are instances where property owners would transfer 100 percent of an employee’s wage to a shopping center even while the person spends just 30 percent of their time on the property. This is not typical, but it is also not unheard of.

Calculating a Tenant’s Proportionate Share of Common Area Maintenance

What factors are considered in determining the tenant’s share of the common area maintenance costs? This expense is often charged on a per-square-foot basis for the entirety of the building. Total yearly expenditures are determined, divided by the total rentable square footage of the property, and the remainder is distributed to tenants on a per-square-foot basis of “$X.00 per square foot.” When calculating the genuine liability of each tenant, it is critical to know the exact square footage that each tenant has rented out of the building.

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It is almost inevitable that tenants and landlords will want to double-check these figures to confirm that the proper amount of reimbursements is being paid / received.

Tips For Property Owners / Managers

It’s almost guaranteed that if your maintenance expenses are capped, you’ll want to keep a tight rein on your spending to avoid going over your budget. Having a maintenance personnel on call, even if they are not in-house, can assist reduce these costs. By visiting the property on a regular basis, you’ll be able to determine which items need to be addressed immediately and which may wait until later. The establishment of a timetable and strategy for when these products will be maintained and / or replaced will undoubtedly assist you and your team avoid unexpected maintenance charges while also remaining within your budget.

Conduct Preventative Maintenance

Preventative maintenance should be performed on a property rather than waiting until something breaks down or becomes a serious problem before addressing it. If you overlook a little leak in a pipe until it has caused the entire ceiling to fall in on itself, you will have a much larger (and more expensive) problem on your hands. Taking this approach to property maintenance will not only help you keep your property in better condition, but it will also help you enhance your connection with your renters.

What are CAM Charges?

CAM costs are the expenses incurred by a landlord in order to operate and maintain a commercial property. Communal area upkeep is an abbreviation that is sometimes used interchangeably with the word operating expenditures. For example, upkeep of common spaces, costs for cleaning up common areas, security for the property and repairs and maintenance would all be included in this category. All of these expenses are paid for by the landlord and are occasionally passed on to the renter by the landlord.

Additionally, you have the ability to negotiate what is included in the common area rates and what is not. It’s possible that we’ll inform a landlord that we’re not going to pay for some goods if we have enough power or if our broker understands where the negotiating opportunities are.

Found Money: Maximizing CAM Revenue

When it comes to commercial leases, the process may be lengthy and complicated, leaving landlords wondering: “Am I maximizing the money my firm is legally entitled to?” When operating commercial real estate, landlords have the ability to carve out specific expenditures incurred by the property and charge a percentage of those fees back to renters on top of the standard rent. They are referred to as operational escalations or common area maintenance (“CAM”) and are stipulated in the leases of retail, office, and industrial tenants, among other things.

Repairs and maintenance, cleaning, utilities, insurance premiums, payroll costs for building personnel, and management fees are just a few of the expenses that may be incurred in this manner.

Reconciliations are generated in order to summarize all CAM-related expenditures and apportion CAM to renters in accordance with the conditions of each lease agreement.

The property manager may also be less concerned with ensuring that all expenditures have been taken into account when calculating chargebacks in order to increase chargebacks.


In your role as a landlord, it is probable that your building may contain a mix of long-term residents who may have signed leases previous to your participation, as well as a number of new renters. While there are some basic provisions that may be included in all leases, it is typical for leases to differ from one another as a consequence of the discussions that take place over the term of the lease. The following are some important points to keep in mind.


The base year is determined according to the terms of the lease and can range from a calendar year to a combination of the first two years of the lease, depending on the circumstances. When calculating the base year CAM, it is critical to get it right since it has an influence on the CAM computation for subsequent years. It is conceivable that the base year will be adjusted throughout the course of a lease renewal.


CAM reconciliations can be time-consuming and labor-intensive, especially in multi-tenant buildings. Examining lease agreements for commonalities might help to expedite the computation process. In order to make the procedure less intimidating, it is recommended to divide costs that relate to several renters into tranches. If possible, it is beneficial to have someone who is familiar with the lease terms and accounting principles set up the reconciliation (or adjust it as leases change over) in order to reduce any room for interpretation by property managers or other professionals who are not as knowledgeable about CAM-related accounting issues.


In the event that the building is not fully filled, a typical CAM related condition provides for certain variable expenditures that are driven by occupancy to be grossed up to a specified percentage in the event that the building is not completely occupied. If a lease specifies that utilities can be grossed up to represent a 95 percent occupancy level, for example, that is exactly what happens. This totaled sum would be included in the overall amount of CAM-related fees and charges.


Although some expenses may be capitalized under accounting rules generally accepted in the United States of America (“US GAAP”), these expenses may nevertheless qualify as items that are considered shared costs under certain circumstances. It is also necessary to conduct a thorough analysis of fixed-asset additions in order to decide what may be included in the lease terms and charged back to the tenants during the asset’s life.


The amount of the management fee that can be levied to the tenant varies from lease to lease. The price can be established as a maximum or as a percentage, and it is conceivable that the landlord will be legally permitted to chargeback a larger amount in addition to the real management fee, if the landlord follows the rules.


A professional review of all of your tenant leases will ensure that the CAM clauses are correctly interpreted and that the CAM reconciliations are calculated accurately. By retaining a professional to review all of your tenant leases, you will be able to rest assured that the CAM reconciliations are being calculated accurately. This will give you piece of mind knowing that your property is generating the most money possible.

Behind the CAM Rate, a commercial real estate term

The following is a guest post by Bob Sattler of Lee Associates Orange The world of commercial real estate is filled with jargon, just like any other industry. There are several terms and phrases that, when employed in a transactional environment, refer to anything special to commercial property. Common Area Maintenance, sometimes known as CAM, is one of the expressions. CAM is something you’ll hear brokers talk about, and they’re not talking about engine components. Common Area Maintenance (CAM) is exactly what it sounds like: the care of shared space inside a specific property that is utilized by a number of tenants.

  • The amount you pay is calculated on a pro-rata basis based on your square footage as compared to the project’s or building’s total square footage.
  • Some of you may be wondering what expenditures are deemed reasonable to pass along to a tenant.
  • While it may be enticing to a building owner or landlord to include all of the costs in the CAM, this is not always the best practice.
  • One topic a potential renter should inquire about is whether or not there is a common area maintenance fee (CAM).
  • Furthermore, you should be aware of the cost of the service because it might vary greatly.
  • As a result, the CAM can increase significantly as well.
  • As you can see, there is a great deal of information included inside this single industry word.

The best course of action is to hire an expert to assist you in determining all of the costs associated with leasing space for your company’s operations. At LeeAssociates Orange, we have the knowledge and experience to assist you in learning the whole commercial real estate lexicon.

About Bob Sattler–Bob is the President of the Orange office of LeeAssociates and has over 35 years of experience in providing commercial real estate services to property owners and users. Experience ranges from developing small industrial buildings for sale and multi-tenant parks for lease to being a broker, leasing and selling office and industrial properties in the North Orange County market. Bob can be reached at (714) 564-7166 or [email protected]

Common Area Maintenance (CAM) Clause

In a typical retail lease for a shopping center, this provision requires the retail tenant to reimburse the landlord for its fair part of the costs associated with managing and maintaining the shopping center’s common spaces and facilities. Landlords and renters typically engage in extensive bargaining over the definition of CAM expenses and what may be passed on to the tenant as a result of the lease agreement. Costs associated with maintenance and operations (CAM) vary substantially from lease to lease.

In light of the fact that CAM expenses may be high, many tenants attempt to limit their exposure by negotiating one or more of the following:

  • An annual cap on the amount of common area maintenance (CAM) charges that a landlord may pass on to the tenant during any given lease year The tenant’s right to audit the landlord’s records in order to determine whether or not the landlord’s CAM charges are lawful. Instead of the tenant being responsible for its proportionate part of real CAM expenditures, a negotiated fixed CAM charge that grows over the lease period is used instead.

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CAM – What is a CAM Charge? Commercial Real Estate

You will almost certainly notice a monthly charge represented by the abbreviation CAM if you are looking for Commercial Real Estate and wind up leasing some space in a multi-tenant business park if you are in the market for Commercial Real Estate. In this case, “CAM” is an abbreviation for “Common Area Maintenance.” When you lease a piece of real estate in a multi-tenant business park, you are not committing to the whole property. It is possible for you to lease a section of the property with other renters who are already on the property.

How Do CAMs Work?

You will almost certainly notice a monthly charge indicated by the abbreviation CAM if you are looking for Commercial Real Estate and wind up leasing some space in a multi-tenant business park if you are looking for Commercial Real Estate. “Common Area Maintenance” is abbreviated as “CAM.” In a multi-tenant business park, when you lease a piece of real estate, you are not leasing the whole thing. It is possible for you to lease a section of the property with other renters who are already on the premises.

CAM Fee Breakdown

Allow me to explain how the price is calculated so that there is no misunderstanding. Once again, the utilities and services that are required to maintain the property, as well as running expenditures, are included in the CAM charge. As stated in the lease deed of the AIR Commercial Real Estate Association, the following charges that are related to the ownership and management of the property and are known as the Common Area Maintenance Expenses are: All costs associated with the operation, repair, and maintenance of the following items in neat, clean, and good order and condition, but excluding the replacement of the following items: common areas and common area improvements, including parking lots, loading and unloading areas, trash areas, roadways, parkways, walkways, driveways, landscaped areas, bumpers, irrigation systems, common area lighting facilities, fences and gates, elevators, roofs, exterior walls of the building, building systems, and roof draping Excluded from this definition are external signage and any tenant directories, as well as all other locations and improvements that are within the outside limits of the Project but are outside of the Premises and/or any other space that is inhabited by a tenant.

2.The cost of water, gas, electricity, and telephone to service the Common Areas, as well as the cost of any other utilities that are not metered individually.

The maintenance and repair of common areas and common area equipment are covered by reserves.

6.Any rise in the cost of insurance.

8.Fees and expenses for auditors, accountants, and attorneys, as well as expenditures associated with the operation, maintenance, repair, and replacement of the Project 9.Any additional costs associated with the operation of the Project that are not included in your leasing agreement.

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In a Common Area Maintenance (CAM) charge, there are a variety of costs and fees that might be included. Every single one of the expenditures and fees that the Landlord incurs for the common areas of the property must be verified by the tenants in order for them to be reimbursed. After being requested to do so, the Landlord should be able to provide you with an itemized account of the expenses and charges that he or she is passing along to the renters. This sum is computed on a yearly basis, and your landlord should be able to give you with the necessary information to calculate your rent.

  1. However, you would be liable for the whole amount of the property’s running expenditures, rather than simply your pro rata part of them.
  2. Bottom line: before signing a lease, landlords or agents should be able to notify you about the current CAM’s for a project that they are representing.
  3. Any further concerns or areas of confusion regarding any of this material should be discussed with the agent or broker with whom you are currently dealing, I recommend.
  4. Best of luck to you!

Commercial Real Estate Terminology

It is always possible to look up the meaning of any commercial real estate lease terms in ourGlossary of Commercial Real Estate Terms if you come across any that you are not acquainted with.

Need Help?

Digsy’sOn-Demand Commercial Real EstateExpertsnot only save you time by assisting you in choosing the ideal location for your company, but they also relieve tension by assisting you in understanding rentals, running expenditures, and even negotiating with landlords on your behalf. You can find out more about using Digsy to locate commercial real estate by visiting this page. Matt Wagner, a Digsy partner, contributed to the writing of this article.

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