If you are negotiating a lease for a new space, one thing you will have to deal with is standard common area maintenance (CAM) fees, as well as administrative CAM fees. Here is some information about standard CAM fees that might be useful as you begin negotiating about them:
- CAM fees are the costs associated with maintenance and repair of common areas that have a direct effect on all tenants, such as hallways, stairwells, elevators, lobbies, and restrooms in common areas. Usually parking lot maintenance costs, which include landscaping and lighting, are included in CAM fees, as well as sidewalks.
- You should always try to negotiate your CAM fees. Businesses that rent larger spaces have better chances of getting these fees reduced, but it cannot hurt to try no matter how small the space.
- If your CAM fees are not up for negotiation, at least include in your lease a provision permitting you to review your landlord’s bills in order to confirm that you are being fairly charged for CAM fees.
- Try to negotiate a cap for the percentage that the CAM fees can be increased each year, and list this cap separately from other increases in rent.
CAM fees can be confusing—even for commercial real estate agents—so make sure you know what they are and how they apply to your rental situation so that you can make sure you are not paying more than you should be.