What are Common Area Maintenance (CAM) fees?

Commercial leases can come with Common Area Maintenance (CAM) fees, which help the landlord pay for upkeep on the property’s common areas. While CAM fees are common in leases, they can vary from space to space and year to year. When signing a lease for a commercial space, be sure you understand all parts of the Common Area Maintenance fees.

What do CAM Fees Cover?

As the term suggests, CAM fees help to pay for the cost and upkeep of common areas in the building and grounds of a commercial property. Common areas can include hallways, shared bathrooms, lobbies, elevators, as well as the parking lot and landscaping. CAM fees in a lease typically include regular maintenance to the property and building, but can also consist of emergency repairs, security systems, signage, insurance, and in some instances salaries of administrative staff.

Variable CAM Fees

If you have a lease with variable CAM fees, this means the fees you are charged can increase based on factors outlined in the contract. If the factors are not explicitly stated, find out what they are from your landlord and get them in writing. You should also find out if there is a cap to how high the fees will go.

Flat CAM Fees

Flat CAM fees in an agreement mean the fees are fixed, and will not adjust up or down. Depending on the lease, these fees can be paid monthly, quarterly, or annually. Sometimes, the costs of major renovations are separate from flat CAM fees. If this is the case, determine if there are scheduled renovations happening in the future.

With commercial leases, there is not a standard on what can and cannot be included in CAM fees. While most landlords will not take advantage of their tenants, it is important to always carefully read your lease and get clarification on any items that are not explicitly stated.

 

Types of Signage for Commercial Leases

Having your business logo on the building you work in makes good sense. It allows clients or patients to quickly find you and is a form of advertisement. This is especially true if your building can be seen from a highway or busy intersection.

If you own the building, you are free to put your company logo where you want it. But if you lease commercial space, signage needs to be discussed with your landlord before you sign a lease. Determine what type of signage is offered to you as a tenant. Don’t assume you will get the same type of signage as other tenants, because it often depends on the space available.

Types of signage

There are several types of signage that you may be able to get if you are in a commercial building with other tenants. The size, type, and location of signage rights should all be clarified in your lease.

  • Building signage. When available, landlords will offer signage right on the building. If you are in a strip mall type of building, stores and business will usually be able to get their signage on the building or front entrance. In a commercial space in a multi-level building, this becomes harder to accomplish. As a sole tenant or main tenant occupying multiple floors in one building, you may have exclusive building signage rights, meaning your logo would be the only one displayed directly on the building.
  • Monument signage. Commercial buildings often have a monument near the road entrance to display the tenants. Monument space is limited to a certain number of slots, so there is no guarantee that your company’s logo will be placed there if it is not in the lease. In addition to whether or not your logo will be on the monument, you should also address where on the monument your logo will be displayed and the size of the signage, as some monuments offer different proportions.
  • Directory or Suite. If your commercial building has a lobby, find out what type of signage is there to guide people to the correct office space. A directory or suite signage will give company names as well as suite numbers. Find out if this signage is all the same font, or if your actual logo can be used here.
  • Door signage. Once people get to your suite, signage at the door or on the wall next to your door will let them know they are in the right spot. Your lease should explain the size and location of signage at your office space.

Signage directs clients to you. Make sure you consider all the types of signage you want when you move into a new space.

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