Understanding Common Area Maintenance (CAM) Charges
If you’re the landlord of a commercial property, you’ve probably heard of CAM charges. These are additional charges beyond monthly rent that many landlords require their tenants to pay to cover costs associated with common area maintenance. Common areas include parking lots, lobbies, elevators, public restrooms, and anywhere else that multiple tenants or groups of tenants access, indoors or outdoors.
How should CAM fees be handled in a lease?
Landlords should list precisely in the lease what CAM fees will be charged, how often they will be charged, and what they will cover. It is also wise to include a cap on how much they can be increased each year. If you are requiring your tenant to contribute to major renovation costs, such as repairs to the building’s roof, let them know in writing. The lease should state when these repairs were last made as well as the dates on which they are scheduled or expected to be made again in the future. An attorney can help you make sure you cover all your bases, with CAM and otherwise, when reviewing your lease.
How are CAM fees calculated and paid?
Property managers and/or landlords make estimates on how much common area maintenance will cost at the beginning of each year. This amount is divided among tenants, but regulated by the lease agreement.
Typically, tenants will be allowed to pay CAM fees in small increments throughout the year. If common area maintenance costs end up being less than estimated, the property manager will be required to reimburse them. This reimbursement should be paid as a lump sum.
Who can I ask if I have more questions about CAM?
If you are a landlord and you have questions about CAM charges, the Atlas Law team is here to help. We are attorneys and landlords’ advocates with extensive experience in providing innovative solutions to landlords and property managers for all of their real estate related legal needs. We are a different kind of real estate law firm because our relationship with our clients is NOT defined by billable hours. If you want to learn more about CAM or have questions about what we can do and how we can help you, please give us a call at (813) 241-8269. We can help you determine what charges are appropriate and how to implement them in your leases. We look forward to partnering with you!