While an obvious first step in your lease negotiation process is to stipulate in your lease what you as a tenant will pay for versus what your landlord will pay for, sometimes landlords still find backdoor ways to hold you responsible for unforeseen expenses.
For instance, you might put in a lease that a landlord is responsible for repairing the heating and cooling system if it breaks down, but the cost of these repairs might still be passed on to you through high CAM fees. For this particular example, consider a few tips for avoiding the financial burden of repairs, as suggested in the article “Avoid Common Area Maintenance (CAM) Cost Surprises”:
- State specifically in the lease that if the heating and cooling system breaks down, the landlord is solely responsible for the cost of maintenance and repair of the system as necessary.
- Analyze the whole lease to make sure there is no other mention of you being responsible for heating and cooling costs. Make sure that all of your other provisions and mentions of CAM charges exclude mention of the heating and cooling system.
- Review anything in the lease about damage charges to limit the landlord’s potential to blame you for damages to the heating and cooling system caused by your business. Make sure that they have to undertake some sort of disagreement resolution process before charging you for the damage.
- Distinguish clearly between regular CAM charges and the cost of any improvements or other major expenditures which the landlord might have to make for a space.
Make sure you carefully review your lease so you are not burdened with surprise costs!