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Auditing Your Rent Statement

Auditing your rent statement

Entrepreneur magazine, October 1996

As a tenant of a commercial space, you probably get a monthly or, at the least, an annual rent statement. Failing to audit that statement could be an expensive oversight.

In most commercial leases, there are two components of the rent, says James A. Light, a managing member with Business Properties Group LC, a commercial real estate brokerage in Salt Lake City. One is the base rent, which is the charge for the space; the other is the expenses shared by the tenants.

Check your rent statement against your lease. Be sure you are being billed only for the amount of space you occupy and that any rent increases have been calculated accurately. Then check the expenses against the terms of your lease.

"Compare the operating costs you're being billed to the costs that you negotiated for in the lease," Light says. He adds that often, the person doing the billing is not the person who actually negotiated the lease, which is one way mistakes happen.

If you find the idea of auditing your rent statement intimidating, consider hiring someone to do it for you--it could be well worth the fee. Light recommends using a commercial real estate broker or real estate attorney. "They do nothing but negotiate leases day in and day out," he says, "and they understand them inside and out."

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