When looking for a commercial property, you might come across some terms that might seem unfamiliar. One of these terms is ‘NNN’. NNN stands for Triple Net Lease and is one of the most popular types of leasing agreements, which is generally an alternative to a gross lease. 

So what is a Triple Net Lease? 

A triple net lease is a type of lease agreement in which the tenant pays all the property expenses. This would include all real estate taxes, building insurance, maintenance, utility bills, as well as the cost of the rent. Due to the fact that the onus is on the tenant to pay for everything, the actual rent for a triple net lease is typically less expensive. 

A triple net lease differs from a standard lease in that it is generally the landlords’ responsibility to pay for at least some of these expenses. Aside from triple net leases, there are also double net and single net leases. 

In a single net lease, the landlord takes on more responsibility, with the tenant still taking on some of the additional costs. With a single net lease, the tenant will generally be responsible for the property taxes, whilst the landlord will take ownership of any other costs.  Due to the tenant bearing some of the additional costs, the rents will tend to be lower than a gross net lease but slightly more than a triple net lease. 

A double net lease will tend to mean the tenant paying for the property taxes and property insurance, with the landlord paying the maintenance costs. Again, these lease types will be lower than the gross net and single net leases. This type of leasing agreement tends to be more popular in larger commercial developments where one landlord will have multiple tenants who may have different square footage. As such, it is easier for the owner to assign taxes and insurances proportional to the amount that is leased.

Why choose a triple net lease agreement? 

Triple net lease agreements have become increasingly popular with investors who are looking to secure a steady income stream at low risk. By not including the additional fees that are generally part of a start of a standard lease agreement, investors avoid any unexpected or additional costs during the tenancy agreement. The landlord will therefore get a fixed income and will not have to shell out on any expenses due to the liability being on the tenant. 

A triple net lease can also have benefits for the tenant. As all the costs associated with leasing the space falls onto the tenant, it means they can have good negotiating power in terms of the base rent. Providing they are willing to take the risk of paying for any future maintenance costs, or any other unexpected expenses, the tenant may end up securing a property at a much more reasonable price.

Is the landlord responsible for any costs in a NNN lease? 

Whilst the tenant is responsible for most of the costs associated with the property, there are generally a few exceptions. Structural damage, i.e. damage to the roof, or other significant expenditures, are typically covered by the landlord. With that being said, it would be recommended to clarify and discuss with the landlord a price point at which they should pay any costs.

So how is NNN cost calculated? 

The advertised cost may be advertised as AED 14 per square foot. This is the base rent, but then the landlord will add up all the other associated costs, including the insurance and any other property costs which the tenant will have to pay in addition. It will then be up to the tenant to pay for any additional maintenance costs that would be required throughout the duration of the contract. 

How is NNN lease different from a gross lease agreement?

Gross lease is the second most popular type of tenancy agreement. The gross lease or full-service lease will tend to include all costs associated with the property, including tax, property fees, insurance, any maintenance fees and in some cases also utility bills. As such, the tenant will only have to pay one upfront price that is typically more expensive than an NNN rent, which the landlord will use to pay the additional costs themselves. One of the key differences between an NNN lease and a gross lease is that the tenant has much higher responsibility for the space that they are using, and have to bear the risk of undertaking any maintenance issues, and the associated expenses that come with it. 

As such, gross leases allow tenants to have much greater control over their finances and budgeting, with there being a constant fixed amount that will not change throughout the entire duration of the contract.

As one can see, there are different benefits of these different lease types. With that being said, the most important thing a tenant can do is have a thorough discussion with their potential landlord and carefully look at their leasing contract to see what exactly is included in the contract and what each party is expected to pay. 

What’s more, tenants should choose an experienced commercial estate agency that will be able to help broker these deals and get the best deal for both sides of the deal. If you are looking to rent a commercial property, book a consultation with one of our many expert commercial property consultants.