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Common Area Maintenance

Common Area Maintenance Disputes

When you lease commercial space (such as retail or industrial space leases), your lease often requires that you pay an extra fees called Common Area Maintenance or CAM fees. CAM fees can be variable or flat fees which are typically are paid monthly, quarterly, or annually, as may be negotiated as a term in your lease agreement. Usually, the more square footage a tenant rents, the greater percentage of CAM expenses the tenant must pay.

The definition of CAM may vary, but generally the purpose is to require tenants to help cover the landlord’s direct expenses for “common areas” such as lighting, hallways, elevators, bathrooms, parking lots, landscaped areas, security, and more.

Over time, some landlords have tried to expand CAM to include things like the costs of ownership, management, maintenance, repair, replacement, inspection, improvement, operation, insurance Administrative expenses, and overhead.

CAM fees can be complicated and expensive. In some cases, the amount of CAM fees can be highly contentious and a deal breaker when negotiating a lease. Tenants need to be aware of when charges migrate from maintenance to landlord ownership expenses (for example, a triple net lease – paying for maintenance, taxes, and insurance).

The Florida commercial litigation attorneys at KALIS, KLEIMAN & WOLFE regularly assist retail, office, shopping center, commercial-industrial, and condominium leasing landlords and tenants, as well as timeshares, in negotiating the definition and amount of CAM fees. We draft, review, negotiate and litigate CAM matters as part of an overall lease agreement. We also strongly recommend that any landlord or tenant have an attorney review any lease that has a CAM (or other special fee) requirements before signing a lease.

It is important to hire an experienced lawyer when dealing with CAM because fees and complexity can vary widely property to property. If you need an advocate to protect your rights regarding a CAM or real estate matter, contact the experienced Common Area Maintenance Attorneys at KALIS, KLEIMAN & WOLFE, the South Florida-based law firm today at (954) 791-0477.

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