What's the Difference Between Single, Double, and Triple Net Leases?

An Overview of Single, Double, and Triple Net Leases

A triple net lease (NNN) is a type of commercial lease that helps landlords decrease risk. A triple net lease is one of three forms of net leases, which are real estate leases in which the tenant is responsible for one or more additional costs. Net leases are commonly employed in commercial real estate and typically include property taxes, property insurance premiums, and maintenance expenditures. Single net leases and double net leases are the other types of net leases besides triple net leases.

In a single net lease, the tenant is only responsible for paying property taxes in addition to the rent. The renter pays rent plus property taxes and insurance payments under a double net lease. A triple net lease, often known as a net-net-net lease, compels the tenant to cover all three additional costs in addition to the rent.

Net leases have lower rents than standard leases since the more expenses a tenant must cover, the lower the base rate a landlord can charge. However, triple net leases are frequently bondable leases, which means that a tenant cannot back out due to rising expenditures, particularly maintenance costs.

Net leases with a single tenant

Single net leases, often known as "N" leases or "net leases," are less popular in the rental industry. The landlord passes a little amount of risk to the tenant, who pays the property taxes, in a lease like this. This implies the landlord is responsible for all other costs, such as insurance, maintenance and repairs, and utilities. The landlord is also liable for any maintenance and/or repairs that are required within the property during the lease term.

Because of the additional expense of property taxes, tenants under a single net lease pay significantly less rent than tenants under a normal lease. However, a larger rental payment does not absolve the landlord of obligation for keeping these costs current.

For instance, a tenant may fail to make or make late payments to the municipality, putting the landlord on the hook. Fines and/or other fees may be imposed as a result. As a result, the majority of landlords incorporate property taxes in their rent payments. They prefer that the payment be routed via them so that they can be assured that the taxes will be paid on time and in the correct amount.

Net leases with two tenants

In commercial real estate, double net leases, often known as net-net leases or "NN" leases, are particularly prevalent. The renter pays property taxes and insurance payments in addition to the rent in this type of lease. Because of the additional expenses, the renter must endure, the base rent—the rent paid for the space itself—is usually lower. All maintenance expenditures, on the other hand, are the landlord's responsibility and are paid directly by him.

Tenants may have different square footage than their neighbors in bigger commercial buildings with many spaces available for rent, such as shopping malls and huge office complexes. As a result, landlords often charge renters proportionately for taxes and insurance based on the quantity of space rented.

Landlords should get the additional payments, just as the single net lease, so they may pay them to the municipality and insurance company. Despite the fact that these payments are included in the tenant's lease, the landlord's name appears on the tax and insurance statement, making them ultimately liable. The landlord can avoid the complications connected with late or missed payments by tenants, which could result in additional penalties, by having the tenant pay these expenditures directly to them.

Check out this Northern Michigan Commerical Real Estate video

Leases with three nets

The triple net lease eliminates the most risk for the landlord of any net lease. This means that, in addition to rent, property taxes, and insurance premiums, the tenant is responsible for all structural upkeep and repairs. The landlord usually charges a lower base rent because these additional expenses are passed on to the renter.

Tenants with triple net leases frequently try to break out of their contracts or receive rent cuts when maintenance expenditures are higher than planned. Many landlords prefer to utilize a bondable net lease to prevent this from happening. This is a type of triple net lease that cannot be terminated before the lease expires. Furthermore, for any reason, even unexpected and major increases in ancillary costs, the rent amount cannot be changed.

Note that landlords may choose to employ a bondable net lease rather than a triple net lease because renters may try to get out of a costly triple net lease.

Triple net leases may increase a tenant's operating costs, and they may be responsible for insurance deductibles. They could also be held liable for any property damage not covered by the insurance policy.

The majority of triple net leases are long-term leases that run more than ten years and typically include rent increase concessions.

important takeaways
  • A net lease is a real estate lease in which the tenant is responsible for one or more extra costs.
  • The renter pays a lower base rent as well as property taxes in a single net lease.
  • In addition to the base rent, double net leases include property taxes and insurance charges.
  • In addition to the base rent, a triple net lease covers property taxes, insurance, and maintenance charges.
  • Because tenants may try to get out of a triple net lease due to the substantial fees involved, landlords typically utilize a bondable net lease.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Triple Net Leases

Investors and tenants profit from triple net leases in different ways. However, before engaging in a long-term triple-net leasing arrangement, both parties should evaluate the limits of this type of commercial lease. Although tenants in a triple net lease generally accept more financial responsibility than tenants in other forms of leases, they can also benefit tenants in a variety of ways.

The Benefits of Triple Net Leases

A triple net lease is an agreement between a property owner and a tenant in which the tenant pays property taxes, insurance premiums, and upkeep and repairs in addition to the building or space's monthly rental price.

Occupation for a Long Time

The majority of triple net lease arrangements are set up to guarantee long-term tenant occupancy (upwards of 20 years). This is beneficial to landlords because it eliminates the risk and losses associated with a property that is vacant between renters.

Investing with Little Risk

A triple net lease arrangement is a very low-risk investment for an investor because the tenant is liable for practically all of the expenditures associated with the property—from taxes and insurance to routine upkeep costs.

Stream of Income That Is Consistent

A triple net lease can offer an investor a steady stream of income. This sort of lease is set up such that you pay the same amount of rent every month for a long length of time. Furthermore, the majority of unknown or catastrophic property expenses will be passed on to the tenant, reducing any investment risks.

Invest in Yourself

Triple net lease properties are frequently added to investment portfolios as a low-risk, conservative way to build equity. Investors may also decide to sell a home when the market reaches a high, the population increases, or they're ready to put the money into their next investment.

Reduced Landlord Responsibilities

You don't have nearly as many landlord responsibilities with a triple net lease as you would with a traditional lease. An investor with more time and money can pursue other businesses.

Business Impact in the Long Run

Tenants who sign a long-term lease benefit from the ability to establish a recognizable and long-lasting location for their company.


Properties with triple net leases are typically located in easily accessible areas near other popular businesses. This can assist a tenant to acquire visibility and traffic from clients who visit other nearby companies.

Benefits from Taxes

Because tenants under a triple net lease are responsible for paying property taxes, they may be able to deduct these costs from their operating expenses, resulting in tax savings.

Earning Caps on Triple Net Leases is a disadvantage.

If property values in the neighborhood rise, landlords who are bound into a long-term lease lose their option to raise the rent. This can limit earning potential in the long run.

Vacancy Risks and Costs of Rollover

Even though the contract is for a long period of time and the renters have been thoroughly screened, there is still the possibility that a tenant will fail. Investors may suffer losses while they are attempting to fill the vacancy.

Assuming Real Estate Expenses

With a triple net lease, the tenant is responsible for the business location's operations and upkeep. Aside from the (often) hefty costs of running a business, tenants must also budget for the building's operations and any unforeseen costs that may arise. This can be a significant financial burden, and tenants must have a good credit history to be eligible for a triple net lease.

Tax Obligations

When a renter is responsible for property taxes, they are also accountable for all associated liabilities, such as fines and penalties for late or inaccurate tax payments.

Example of a Triple Net Lease

Triple net leases are used by many huge global corporations who want their brands to be consistent. One corporation that commonly agrees to triple net lease arrangements is Walgreens. Walgreens was the second-largest drugstore in the United States in terms of total prescription revenue in 2019.

Walgreens is a pharmacy that focuses on prescription drugs and grocery shopping. Walgreens has chosen triple net leases for a period of 25 years.

When a corporation chooses a triple net lease, it releases the landlord from all financial and physical obligations. They perform their own maintenance, hire their own vendors, order their own signage, and cover their own operational and capital costs. Walgreens, on the other hand, can choose from a variety of prime retail locations by agreeing to triple net leases. Walgreens stores are usually in prime locations, with 1.5-acre lots on important intersections in high-traffic areas.

Because of their high visibility, Walgreens seeks these corner positions. In the world of triple net leases, the corporation is regarded as a great tenant and a safe bet for investors.

Particular Points to Consider

When signing any sort of lease, the renter must keep in mind that their rent payments may increase, regardless of whether they include additional charges or notes. Due to legal increases allowed by municipal governments, a landlord may raise the rent. However, property tax reassessments or increases in insurance rates may cause rent to rise.

However, there are other options. Tenants may wish to sign a gross lease, which costs a flat rental amount if given the opportunity. This sum covers the cost of the space as well as any other costs that may arise. As a result, the landlord is still responsible for paying property taxes, insurance fees, and maintenance expenses. They cover these expenses by including them in the rent they charge tenants.

For example, if the annual rent is $10,000 and the additional costs are estimated to be $3,000, the effective rent charged to the renter is $13,000 per year. Traditional leases are more prevalent than net leases, but they expose the landlord to more risk by requiring him to cover any unexpected rises in the additional expenses. This is why some landlords prefer a net lease, which transfers part or all of the risk to the renter.

Another option to a net lease is a modified gross lease. A modified gross lease requires the tenant to pay base rent at the start of the term. Over time, the lease becomes responsible for a proportional percentage of the property's other costs, such as property taxes, utilities, insurance, and upkeep.

Frequently Asked Questions about Triple Net Lease

  • Is it a Good Idea to Have a Triple Net Lease?
    Triple net leases have advantages for both renters and landlords. A tenant has more flexibility with their structure; they can personalize their area for more brand consistency without having to spend the money on a purchase. Another benefit is that these leases are usually fairly flexible: tax rises, insurance increases, and so on. Triple net leases can be a solid source of income for landlords with little overhead expenditures. In addition, the landlord is not required to participate actively in the property's management.

  • What Is the Difference Between a Triple Net Lease and a Net Lease?
    A net lease is one in which the tenant pays a portion or all of the property's taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs in addition to the base rent. In commercial real estate, net leases are often employed. Single net leases, double net leases, and triple net leases are the three basic types of net leasing. A renter pays one of three expense categories when they sign a single net lease: taxes, maintenance, and insurance. A renter agrees to pay two of the three expense categories when they sign a double net lease. Net-net leases are another name for these types of leases. Finally, when a renter signs a triple net lease, they agree to pay for all three categories of expenses. Net-net-net leases are sometimes known as triple net leases.

  • Is it Possible to Negotiate a Triple Net Lease?
    Almost all responsibility lies on the tenant under a triple net lease. The tenant is responsible for paying rent as well as all of the property's overhead costs, such as taxes, insurance, running expenses, and utilities. As a result, the base rental rate may become a crucial negotiating point. Because the tenant is shouldering the burden of the landlord's overhead, they may be able to negotiate a lower basic rental rate. Tenants can also discuss which components of repair costs and/or utilities the landlord is accountable for in some situations. 

  • What is the formula for calculating a triple net lease?
    The amount of a triple net lease can be determined in a variety of ways. Landlords may sometimes tally up all of a building's property taxes, insurance, maintenance costs, and common area costs and divide the amount by 12. The monthly cost is represented by this number. When a building is leased by only one tenant, the process is simpler. Typically, the monthly base rental cost is computed using a rate per square foot. 

  • In a triple net lease, what is the landlord's responsibility?
    With a triple net lease, the tenant is responsible for the majority of the costs associated with the commercial property. The roof and structure, as well as the parking lot, maybe the landlord's responsibility.

Final Thoughts

A net lease is a type of real estate contract in which the tenant pays one or more additional expenses, usually for commercial rental properties. Single, double, and triple net leases are the three fundamental types of net leasing. A triple net lease requires the tenant to cover all of the property's costs, including real estate taxes, building insurance, and maintenance. These payments are in addition to rent and utility expenses. Because the tenant assumes more of the property's expenses, triple net leases sometimes offer a cheaper base rent rate. Step-up leases and ground leases can be contrasted to net leases.

With a step-up lease, the rental agreement specifies future price increases over the term of the lease. Step-up leases shield landlords from the dangers of inflation or a rising market in long-term leases. Ground leases allow tenants to develop a piece of land during the term of the lease. The land and its improvements are then turned over to the property owner/landlord at the end of the lease period.

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