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The world of property management is full of complex terminology, but at Swordfern we believe simpler is better.

View our glossary of terms below and take control of your management.

  • Amortization

    The repayment of loan principal through equal payments, over a designated period of time, consisting of both principal and interest.

  • CAM - Common Area Maintenance.

    Also referred to as operating costs, operating expenses or additional rent. This is the portion of your monthly gross rent that pays for maintenance of the property, insurance, taxes, etc. Some leases define CAM as exclusive of property taxes.

  • Fixture

    Any item affixed, no matter how lightly, to the premises. Usually, under the lease, such an item becomes part of the premises.

  • Gross area

    The entire floor area of a building or the total square footage of a floor.

  • Gross leasable area (GLA)

    The total floor area designed for tenant occupancy and exclusive use, including basements, mezzanines, and upper floors. It is measured from the center line of joint partitions and from outside wall faces.

  • Gross lease

    A lease in which the rent is all inclusive of CAM/Operating costs, and is not subject to yearly adjustment or reconciliation.

  • Gross Rent

    This is your rent inclusive of all costs (management fees, operating costs, base rent, etc.).

  • Highest and best use

    The reasonably probable and legal use of vacant land or an improved property, which is physically possible, appropriately supported, financially feasible, and results in the highest value.

  • HVAC - Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning.

    Usually refers to the rooftop units (RTU's) that heat and cool your premises. Usually pronounced as H-Vac.

  • Landlord

    The lessor or owner of the leased property.

  • Lease

    A contract that creates the relationship of landlord and tenant. A contractually binding agreement that grants a right to possession or use of property, usually in return for a periodic payment called rent.

  • Lessee

    The person renting or leasing the property. Also known as a tenant.

  • Lessor

    The person who rents or leases a property to another. Also known as a landlord.

  • Net Rent

    Also known as base rent, this is your rent without operating costs

  • Operating costs/Operating expenses

    see CAM

  • Percentage rent

    The additional rent (over a base amount) that is paid by tenants to landlords on tenant sales and is usually over a specified dollar amount. It is frequently found in retail leases.

  • Rentable area

    The computed area of a building as defined by the guidelines of Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) and typically measured in square feet, including both core/structure and useable area. The actual square foot area for which the tenant will pay rent. It is the gross area of an office building, less uninterrupted vertical space (such as stairways and elevators). Unlike useable area, rentable area includes common areas such as lobbies, restrooms, and hallways as well as the measurement of structural columns and architectural projections.

  • Sublease

    A lease in which the original tenant (lessee) sublets all or part of the leasehold interest to another tenant (known as a subtenant) while still retaining a leasehold interest in the property. Also known as a sandwich lease due to the sandwiching of the original lessee between the lessor and the subtenant.

  • Tenant

    A person or entity who has possession of the property through a lease. A tenant also may be referred to as a lessee.

  • Tenant improvements

    Preparation of leased premises prior to or during a tenant's occupancy, which may be paid for by either the landlord, the tenant, or both.

  • TI

    See tenant improvements.

  • Time value of money (TVM)

    An economic principle recognizing that a dollar today has greater value than a dollar in the future because of its earning power.

  • Triple Net - also referred to as net, net, net or wholly net.

    A lease where the Tenant is responsible for all costs associated with repair and maintenance as well as taxes, insurance, etc. This is the most common form of commercial lease.

  • Useable area

    Rentable area, less certain common areas that are shared by all tenants of the office building (such as corridors, storage facilities, and bathrooms). Also defined in office buildings as the area that is available for the exclusive use of the tenant. Useable area = rentable area × building efficiency percentage.

  • Zoning

    The designation of specific areas by a local planning authority within a given jurisdiction for the purpose of legally defining land use or land use categories.