What Is a Gross Lease and How Does It Work?

A gross lease is an agreement in which the tenant agrees to pay a flat rental sum to the property owner in exchange for the exclusive use of the property. The price covers all of the expenses involved with owning a home, such as taxes, insurance, and utilities. Gross leases are extensively utilized in the commercial property leasing market and can be customized to match the needs of the tenants.  (Click here to see all Northern Michigan Commercial Real Estate Listings)

Important Takeaways

  • A gross lease is one that includes all of a tenant's out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Property taxes, insurance, and utilities are among the additional charges rolled into a gross lease.
  • Commercial real estate, such as office buildings and retail spaces, frequently employ gross leases.
  • Gross leases are divided into two categories: modified leases and fully serviced leases.
  • Gross leases differ from net leases, in which the tenant is responsible for one or more of the property's costs.

What Is a Gross Lease and How Does It Work?

A lease is an agreement between a lessee or renter and a lessor or property owner. This is a written contract that gives the renter exclusive use of the property for a set length of time. The tenant agrees to pay the landlord a set amount on a regular basis, such as weekly, monthly, or annually. 

A gross lease is a type of lease in which the renter pays a one-time sum to have exclusive use of the property. It's widely utilized in commercial properties with multiple lessees, such as office buildings and retail spaces. Landlords determine fees or rents to pay the operational costs of these locations in a reasonable manner.  Among these costs are:

  • Annual Property Taxes
  • Insurance on the property
  • utilities that are common
  • Other regular and expected costs

This rent can be calculated using either analytical or historical property data. The amount and terms of the lease can also be negotiated between the landlord and the renter. A tenant, for example, may request that the landlord include janitorial or landscaping services in the rent.

Gross leases allow tenants to plan their spending exactly. These leases are especially advantageous for persons with limited resources or businesses looking to reduce variable costs and increase profits. 5 Companies may focus on building their business instead of dealing with the intricacies of net leasing.
Note: When a gross lease does not include insurance or utilities, the renter is responsible for them.

Check out this Northern Michigan Commerical Real Estate video

Gross leases come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Gross leases are divided into two groups. The first is referred to as a modified gross lease, and the second is referred to as a full-service lease.

Modified Gross Lease

A modified gross lease comprises the same basic conditions as a gross lease, but it can be tailored to the property owner's and tenant's specific needs. It's effectively a mix of a gross and a net lease, with the tenant paying base rent at the start of the term.

This type of gross lease also includes a proportional part of the property's other expenses, such as property taxes, utilities, insurance, and upkeep. These adjustments may, for example, say that the tenant is paying for electric utility charges but that the property owner is responsible for waste removal.

Modified gross leases are used frequently in commercial premises with multiple tenants, such as office buildings. This type of lease sits somewhere between a gross lease, in which the landlord pays all running expenditures, and a net lease, in which the tenant pays all property expenses. (Use this guide to screen tenants)

Fully Service Lease

A total service lease is one of the most straightforward gross lease choices. The tenant is just responsible for the rent, while the landlord is responsible for all other expenses. As a result, the property owner factors other costs into the rental rate, such as utilities, property taxes, and maintenance. 

This sort of gross lease allows the tenant to rent without worrying about other fees like property maintenance. Fully serviced leases, on the other hand, can be more expensive because the landlord covers the additional expenditures.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of a Gross Lease

Signing a gross lease has benefits and drawbacks for both the landlord and the tenant, just like any other sort of contract. Below are some of the most prevalent advantages and disadvantages.

Property owners can benefit from using a gross lease to rent out their homes in a number of ways:

  • Obtaining a higher rental rate by including operating costs in the rental fee
  • When the cost of living rises annually, passing on any inflationary charges to the tenant.

Despite these advantages, there are several disadvantages for landlords:

  • Assuming responsibility for any additional costs related to property ownership, such as maintenance or higher utility bills if a renter wastes water or electricity.
  • An increase in the property owner's administrative responsibilities, such as taking the time to ensure that invoices and other obligations are paid on time.

Tenant's Advantages and Disadvantages

Tenants benefit from a gross lease in the following ways:

  • There are no additional charges involved with renting the space because the rent is fixed.
  • There is a time savings component because the tenant is relieved of any administrative responsibilities related to the property's finances.

The following are some of the most significant disadvantages:

  • Even if there are no additional charges to pay, the rent is higher.
  • A landlord who is sluggish or unresponsive when it comes to property maintenance.
  • Additional costs might be rolled into the rent by landlords.
  • Landlords have the ability to pass on inflationary costs to tenants.
  • Other than the rent, tenants are not accountable for any charges.
  • Instead of worrying about renting space, tenants may concentrate on their business.
  • Any additional expenditures are the responsibility of the landlord.
  • Landlords must devote more effort to administrative responsibilities such as paying running expenses.
  • Tenants may be required to pay a higher rent if they are also liable for paying bills.
  • Tenants may have to deal with landlords who fail to maintain their properties.

Net Leases vs. Gross Leases

A gross lease is the polar opposite of a net lease. A net lease entails the tenant bearing some or all of the property's costs, such as utilities, maintenance, insurance, and other fees. Net leases are divided into three categories:

  • The tenant pays rent plus property taxes under a single net lease.
  • The tenant pays rent, as well as property taxes and insurance, under a double net lease.
  • The tenant pays rent, as well as property taxes, insurance, and maintenance, under a triple net lease.

Net leases give tenants more control over some costs and elements of the property, but they also come with more responsibilities. For example, if the tenant is responsible for maintenance, they may be able to make cosmetic changes. They do, however, cover the majority of the repair costs. 

Even when maintenance is a tenant expense, landlords frequently restrict or prohibit cosmetic improvements to the property. Utility costs are also subject to change for tenants. They may use a variety of tactics to limit consumption in order to keep costs under control.

Frequently Asked Questions about Gross Leases

  • What's the Difference Between Rent and a Lease?
    A lease is an agreement between a landlord and a lessee in which the landlord promises to provide the tenant complete access to the property. The amount charged by a property owner for the exclusive use of their property by a tenant is known as rent.

  • What Are the Most Common Commercial Lease Types?
    Gross leases and net leases are the two most common types of business leases. Modified gross leases, fully serviced gross leases, single net leases, double net leases, and triple net leases are all subcategories of these two types of leases.

  • What Are the Most Common Commercial Lease Types?
    The gross lease is the most popular and straightforward type of lease. It is a contract between a landlord and a tenant in which the lessee agrees to pay the lessor a fixed sum of money for a set period of time in exchange for the exclusive use of a piece of property, which includes rent and all other costs associated with ownership, such as taxes, insurance, and utilities.
"I have significant experience buying and selling Northern Michigan commercial real estate and I'd like to help you find the perfect investmentSend me a message or give me a call at (231) 459-4257 to learn more today."

Continue Your Northern Michigan Real Estate Search
Explore homes and real estate in the Northern Michigan communities below or contact Brook Walsh to help you with your search. 

Posted by Brook Walsh on


Email Send a link to post via Email

Leave A Comment

e.g. yourwebsitename.com
Please note that your email address is kept private upon posting.