CAM

Why did the TMI go up in my commercial real estate lease?

T.M.I. (also known as CAM and additional rent) is a common feature in a commercial real estate lease and it represents the expenses for the property. Sometimes when tenants see this figure in their lease they assume it's a fixed number throughout the term, but it's not, and it can't be.

Because TMI represents taxes, maintenance, and insurance, a year to year change in any of those expenses can have an impact on the TMI rate you pay. For example, it's widely known that property taxes steadily increase 

What expenses can be used in TMI, CAM, or Additional Rent in a commercial real estate lease?

What should be used as a TMI expense is dependent upon how the lease is written, but, the vast majority of the time I write triple net leases and I know most commercial and industrial landlords and practitioners prefer triple net leases where they can be applied, The list below is based on a triple net scenario and isn’t limited to what is listed:

1) Landscaping - The property needs to look well maintained to make a good first impression in a business situation. Lawn cutting, gardening, weeding, tree and bush trimming, litter pick up, and so on can be a landscaping expense.

2) Snow Removal - If you live in a province or state that gets snow, snow removal contracts are a necessity for commercial and industrial properties to ensure businesses and customers have a place to park. Salting and Sanding also falls into this category.

3) Parking Lot Repairs - Parking lots function and look best when the pavement is smooth and free of potholes.

4) Roof Repairs and Maintenance - There are various things that can cause a leak in the roof but leaks tend to occur most towards the end of the roof life. Fortunately repairs can be made and the roof can often be functional for years longer with proper maintenance. There will reach a point where repairs won’t work and a full replacement will be necessary.

5) HVAC Maintenance and Repairs - To ensure the longest life and most efficiency of your HVAC units you should have a regular maintenance contract. A few visits a year from an HVAC technician to keep the unit clean and running smoothly is a wise idea.

6) Outdoor and Common Area Lighting Costs - Tenant’s and Customers definitely appreciate it when coming and going during darker hours of the day, and, having a lit building is a bonus security feature.

7) Property Management and Administration Costs - Property management takes time and money. It would be rare to see management fees higher than 15% of the property expenses but this depends on the landlord and management company.

8) Elevator Maintenance - Elevators require monthly maintenance contracts to remain operation.

9) Waste Removal - If you have common waste, recycling, or compost bins for tenant use.

10) Outdoor/Common Walkways, Ramps, or Stairs - Need to be maintained to code for safety.

11) Fire Prevention - For buildings with sprinkler systems, common area alarms/detectors, these are items that have maintenance costs. Depending on the situation, most times tenant’s would have alarms/detectors in their own units at their own expense.

12) Security Systems - For common areas only. Tenant’s should do their own monitoring for their own unit.

13) Electrical - Maintenance of the electrical room or main transformer.

14) Water - Most units of commercial and industrial buildings don’t have a separate water meter. Water costs should be added to the TMI in this situation, except if there is evidently a tenant that uses more than the others, a fair approach to billing should be made.

15 Insurance - For building and land. Tenant’s should be providing their own content and liability insurance as per the lease.

16) Property Taxes - The largest and most obvious expense.

This list can and will be more extensive in the future, but for now this is a good base guide.

Depending on the wording of your lease you may be able to amortize capital improvements over a longer term. The default wording of my lease allows for roof, HVAC, and parking lot replacement costs to amortized over 10 years but this isn’t used in all documents.

If you’re a client of mine that needs some assistance with best TMI practices I have no problem offering that help. Make sure you work with a Realtor that knows all of the expenses that need to be accounted for.

How to Calculate TMI ,CAM, or Additional Rent on Commercial and Industrial Buildings

This blog is targeting commercial and industrial buildings that have little or no common area. Most commercial retail plazas and most industrial buildings will fall into this category. Office buildings, or buildings with an abundance of common area would usually take a different approach which I plan to cover in another blog. If you’re new to this TMI, CAM (common area maintenance), and additional rent are industry phrases to represent the expenses for the property, and whatever phrase is used is usually a matter of preference but TMI is most common.

T.M.I. stands for taxes, maintenance, and insurance so the first place to start is adding together your property taxes, all of your maintenance and repair costs on the property, and your insurance costs for the most recent year. That makes up your combined annual total of property expenses. You simply need to divide that total by the total number of square feet that make up the building. You then have your per. sq. ft. rate for TMI.

A simplified formula: (Property Taxes + Maintenance + Insurance) ÷ total square feet = per sq. ft. TMI rate

If you’re looking for information on what TMI is (also known as CAM or Additional Rent), you may want to visit my other blog post with that explanation here https://www.stevendavidson.ca/blog/2018/8/13/what-is-tmi-cam-and-additional-rent-in-commercial-real-estate-leasing

For information on how often your TMI should be calculated I have a post about that here: https://www.stevendavidson.ca/blog/2019/2/12/how-often-is-tmi-cam-or-additional-rent-updated-in-a-commercial-real-estate-lease

If you were looking for information on how to calculate month rent instead of TMI I have information on how to do that here: https://www.stevendavidson.ca/blog/2019/2/22/how-to-calculate-monthly-rent-for-commercial-real-estate-lease-listings

How to Calculate Monthly Rent for Commercial Real Estate Lease Listings

If you want the shortcut formula look to the bolded text a few paragraphs down. If that doesn’t make sense or you need explanation read on and even reach out if you have any questions.

If you’re looking to lease a commercial, industrial, or office property, you have probably noticed that most listings are priced per sq. ft. often separating base and additional rents. If this is a new concept to you, I bet it can be a little confusing. One of the most common questions I receive from newer business owners is, “What does that work out to monthly?” Below is a simple guide to calculating commercial real estate rents for the majority of listings that are out there.

Step One, add the per square foot base rent and additional rent together. The base rent can often be referred to as net or triple net rent, additional rent can also be commonly known as CAM or TMI. If you have a base rent of $10 per sq. ft. and additional rent of $5 per sq. ft., that is a combined total of $15 per sq. ft.

Step Two, multiply the combined total above by the number of square feet that make up the premises to get the total annual rent. If we are looking at a 1000 sq. ft. commercial unit, that would be $15 multiplied by 1000 for a total of $15,000 annual rent.

Step Three, divide the annual total rent by 12 to discover the total monthly rent. Taking the example above, $15,000 divided by 12 is $1,250.00 monthly. Keep in mind that commercial rents in most states and provinces in the United States and Canada have taxes applicable to commercial rents. In the province of Ontario commercial real estate rents are subject to 13% HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) which gets added to the total. In this situation 13% of $1,250 is $162.50 for a total monthly rent of $1,412.50 including applicable taxes.

For those looking for a mathematical equation the simplest version would look like this:

((Base Rent + Additional Rent) x Square Footage) ÷ 12 = Total Monthly Rent, before applicable taxes.

Other Factors? Aside from any applicable taxes it should be noted that most commercial rents do not include utilities so it would be good to clarify that with a the listing agent if it’s not clear in the advertising. If you come across a listing advertising gross rent instead of base/additional, it usually means that is number is the combined total of base and additional rent already calculated for you.

If you’re looking to lease commercial space, please make sure you are working with an agent that clearly demonstrates knowledge of how to calculate total monthly rents to prevent upsetting surprises.

How often is TMI (CAM or additional rent) updated in a commercial real estate lease?

Landlord’s should be in the habit of checking their TMI figures annually to make adjustments if necessary. This should either be done at the calendar year end or the landlord’s year end whichever the landlord prefers or is specified in the lease. If there is a difference in expenses, the tenant’s should be notified within a reasonable time of the year end, my lease states within 3 months.

What happens if there is an increase in the TMI? As mentioned above the tenant’s should be notified within a reasonable time frame specified in the lease document so that they can implement their increase starting the next rent cheque. If there is an increase the landlord will need to send out recovery statements for tenant’s to pay the balance of expenses that went over the previous TMI rate.

I like to make sure that my clients are properly updating and recovering their TMI’s to ensure their investments are operating as they should. If you’re a client of mine and need assistance updating your TMI’s I can provide helpful tips and advice when the time comes.

What is TMI, CAM, and Additional Rent in Commercial Real Estate Leasing?

If you're new to commercial leasing you are likely surprised by the way most commercial, industrial, or office spaces are priced and marketed. Most commercial listings have the price broken down per sq. ft. and while that may be confusing in itself, what I find catches most people off guard is the mention of additional rent which is also commonly referred to as TMI (taxes, maintenance, insurance) or CAM (common area maintenance). It's often an overlooked detail in the hunt for commercial space because a new tenant may notice the base rent is within their budget but after discovering additional rent the space is not affordable.

So what is this additional rent? It's the landlord's expenses for the property.

What are the landlord's expenses? Property taxes are usually the most significant of this figure but it also includes but isn't limited to property insurance, landscaping, snow removal, waste removal, cleaning and maintaining common areas, building management and administration fees, and repair and maintenance for items like the roof, HVAC, etc.

Why is additional rent separated from the base rent? Keeping the base rent separated and priced per square foot makes it easy to compare against competing spaces to determine what is in line with market value, this benefits both landlord and tenant.

Why do tenants pay additional rent for the landlord's expenses? I've been asked this a few times as if this is a deceiving practice but it isn't. The tenant pays their proportionate share of the property expenses because it's the tenant's that use the property, not the landlord. The tenant's use the structure, the HVAC, the parking lot, the common areas etc. and those items need to be paid for and maintained. Logically it should be the party that uses it that pays for it and that is why the expenses to maintain the property paid for by the tenant usually through TMI.

How is TMI/additional rent calculated? In most scenarios the combined annual total for expenses is divided by the total number of square feet of the building. This provides the per square foot rate for expenses we call additional rent, AKA, TMI or CAM. This per sq. ft. figure is multiplied by the number of square feet that make up the tenant's premises and that is the annual total the tenant is responsible for paying as additional rent.

Does TMI change or increase? Yes. I mentioned above property taxes usually make up the bulk of additional rent and unfortunately property taxes have a tendency to increase regularly. In addition to this the cost of maintenance and repairs also change over time and will have an impact.

Is additional rent negotiable? No. Property expenses are not negotiable. They are what they are.

Have a question about additional rent that isn't in here? Let me know what it is.