Real Estate Investing: Percentage Leases

Multiple tenant commercial real estate buildings that house retail shops or shopping malls are usually leased to the different tenants. They operate several diverse businesses under the same roof using a percentage lease. In a percentage lease, the owner is paid a base rent plus a percentage of the tenant?s gross receipts. The rent is determined by the amount of business done by the lessee. This type of lease is used most commonly by a single entity that rents or leases a multiple tenant commercial building leased to numerous retail shops or shopping malls, as they are more popularly known. Investors see percentage lease as benefiting both the owner as well as the tenant.

The owner has superior returns, whereas the tenant has the advantage of a lower rent structure. The percentage charged is usually 10% to 12%, and is paid annually, semi-annually or quarterly. Some other owners demand even on a monthly basis. It depends on the type of property, the location, its desirability and the sales volume of the lessee. This type of lease requires that the tenant periodically keeps furnishing the gross receipt to the owner, which may be a deterrent and may cause tenants to change their mind about agreeing to the lease. They have to produce their sales books, IRS form attachments or their sales tax records.

Types of Rent Discrimination and Percentage Leases; The one main advantage of a percentage lease is the risk sharing by the landlord and the tenant. The landlord will benefit if he discriminates in charging rents to different tenants. In simple rent discrimination, the landlord charges each tenant under the same tenant classification such as boutiques a particular rent and other such classifications of tenants? different rents as per the nature of the business. In perfect rent discrimination, each tenant is charged a different rent to ensure the landlord gets the maximum profit.

The tenants do generally not prefer percentage leases but they will comply if the owner of a desirable, well-suited and well-located property demands it. The tenants have to comprehend the terms of the lease before they sign it. They have to be very specific in making clear what accounts for the gross receipt, which can exclude some items such as returned goods, delivery and installation charges, sales tax, mail order sales etc. and other such deductible items as per the nature of the business.

Percentage leases are also used in the farming sector where owners receive a percentage of the crop grown and harvested; the owners make profit by selling his percentage of the crop. The normal percentage lease usually charges 30% to 40% depending upon the quality of the farmland. The percentage lease is therefore not a very popular type of lease.

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