Derek Morgan
Derek Morgan
Common Area Maintenance
Derek Morgan
Derek Morgan

    What is Common Area Maintenance?

    CAM charges are just one of the many considerations to keep in mind when looking for the ideal space for your business. However, taking the time to comprehend them, budget for them, and prepare for any unexpected changes can make the process smoother and less stressful.

    CAM (Common Area Maintenance) charges, also known as operating expenses, are the fees that commercial tenants pay to the landlord or property manager to cover the costs of maintaining and managing the common areas of the building. These charges can be a significant portion of a tenant's overall lease costs, and it's essential to understand them before signing a lease agreement.

    Understanding CAM Charges

    First, let's define what exactly is included in CAM charges. These costs are associated with the common areas of buildings that are shared by multiple tenants. This can include parking lots, stairwells, lobbies, and any other areas that are not specifically designated as the tenant's individual space. Examples of expenses included in CAM charges can include landscaping services, security guards, utilities, and janitorial services, among others. CAM charges are calculated and can vary from landlord to landlord. Some landlords may calculate charges based on each tenant's individual square footage, while others may use a flat rate for all tenants. Additionally, landlords may choose to pass along any increases in operating costs to tenants through increased CAM fees.

    It's important to understand how much you'll be paying for CAM charges each year, and to do that you should read your lease carefully. Your lease agreement should outline how your landlord calculates CAM charges, as well as what specific items will be covered by those fees. Be sure to keep an eye out for any unexpected increases in CAM fees throughout the life of your lease agreement, so you can plan ahead and budget accordingly.

    CAM charges can vary depending on the property and the landlord, but they typically include expenses related to:

    1. Property maintenance: This can include repairs to the building structure, parking lot maintenance, and HVAC maintenance.

    2. Property management: This includes costs for managing the property, such as administrative fees, security services, and building staff.

    3. Utilities: Tenants may be responsible for their own utility costs, but CAM charges may cover the costs of utilities used in common areas, such as lighting and heating in hallways and lobbies.

    4. Insurance: CAM charges can also include the cost of insuring the building against damage or liability.

    The Importance of Budgeting for CAM

    When calculating the expenses associated with leasing commercial real estate, it's crucial to consider all costs, not just the significant expenses such as rent and square footage. Common Area Maintenance (CAM) charges, which are often not included in the base rent price, can accumulate over time. As a result, it's essential to budget for these additional costs to avoid any unforeseen expenses later on.

    In addition, it's vital to be aware of potential increases in CAM charges. Landlords may raise operating costs and pass them on to tenants by increasing CAM fees. Even if you budgeted for CAM charges based on the initial amount in your lease agreement, those fees may change over time.

    To prepare for CAM charges, it's recommended that you take the following steps: 

    First, carefully review your lease agreement to understand how your landlord calculates CAM charges and which expenses are covered by those fees. 

    Second, keep track of any unexpected CAM fee increases during your lease agreement so that you can plan and budget accordingly. 

    Finally, remember to include CAM charges in your overall budget for leasing commercial real estate.

    Calculating CAM charges can be complex, but they are typically calculated based on the tenant's pro-rata share of the building. This means that the tenant pays a portion of the total CAM charges based on the amount of space they are leasing in the building. For example, if a tenant is leasing 20% of the total building space, they will be responsible for paying 20% of the total CAM charges.

    It's important to budget for CAM charges when leasing commercial real estate because they can significantly impact the total cost of the lease. Tenants should carefully review the lease agreement to understand how CAM charges are calculated and what expenses they cover. It's also important to negotiate these charges with the landlord before signing the lease to ensure that they are reasonable and fair.


    To sum up, CAM charges are a crucial aspect of leasing commercial real estate that must not be disregarded. They are expenses associated with the shared areas of a building that multiple tenants use, such as utilities, landscaping, janitorial services, and security guards. Knowing how CAM charges are computed, being vigilant about unexpected increases, and planning for them in advance are all essential to ensure that you are fully aware of your financial obligations when leasing commercial real estate. Although there are numerous things to consider when leasing commercial real estate, comprehending and budgeting for CAM charges is a vital part of the process that can help you plan accordingly and avoid financial surprises.

    Moreover, it's worth noting that CAM charges can differ based on location, building type, and amenities provided. As a result, when researching different properties, it's crucial to investigate the CAM charges and their calculation methods to make an informed decision about which property is best suited for your business. At Unreal Estate, our mission is to equip you with the knowledge necessary to make informed decisions for your business. If you have any questions or require assistance in comprehending CAM charges, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to assist you in navigating the intricacies of commercial real estate leasing.

    Ultimately, CAM charges are just one of the many considerations to keep in mind when looking for the ideal space for your business. However, taking the time to comprehend them, budget for them, and prepare for any unexpected changes can make the process smoother and less stressful.

    Realize, CAM charges are an essential aspect of leasing commercial real estate, and tenants should be aware of them when negotiating a lease agreement. By understanding what these charges are, how they are calculated, and what expenses they cover, tenants can budget effectively and avoid unexpected costs during their lease term.

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