Real Estate

Gross Lease vs. Net Lease: What's The Difference

December 27, 2021

Different leases can be used for various purposes. There are many types of commercial leases that can accommodate different kinds of properties and businesses. The rent calculation method is used to calculate how much space will be paid for, and taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs will determine the lease's cost. Based on rent calculation, there are two types of commercial leases at the top level: a gross lease or a net lease. Continue reading to learn the differences between net and gross leases.

What is a Gross Lease?

A gross lease requires that the tenant pay a flat fee to the property owner for the exclusive use and enjoyment of the property. The fee covers all costs associated with property ownership, including taxes and insurance. Gross leases are flexible enough to meet the needs and can often be used in commercial property rental.

Key Points

  • A gross lease includes all incidental charges incurred for a tenant.
  • Property taxes, insurance, utilities, and other costs are all included in a gross leasing agreement.
  • Gross leases can rent commercial property, such as office buildings or retail spaces.
  • Two gross leases are available: modified leases or fully service leases.
  • Gross leases can be different from net leases. Net leases require the tenant to pay a percentage of the property costs.

How Gross Leasing Works

A lease is an agreement between a property owner or lessor and a lessee/tenant. A lease, which is commonly written, gives the tenant the exclusive use of the property for a specified period. In addition, the tenant agrees with the owner to pay a fixed amount regularly. This could be weekly, monthly, or annually.

On the other hand, a gross lease allows the exclusive tenant use of the property by paying a flat rate. It is most commonly used to rent commercial property like office buildings or retail spaces with multiple lessees. The landlords calculate rents or fees to cover the operating costs of these areas.

These expenses include:

  • Property taxes
  • Insurance
  • Standard utilities
  • Other every day and expected expenses

This calculation can be done using historical property data, analysis, or both. Then, the tenant and landlord can negotiate the rent amount and terms. For example, the landlord may request that tenants include landscaping and janitorial services.

Gross leases give tenants the ability to budget their expenses accurately. These leases can be especially useful for small businesses or those with limited resources who wish to reduce variable costs and maximize profits. Companies can focus on expanding their business instead of worrying about net leases.

Important: A gross lease that does not include utilities or insurance. The tenant must handle these costs.

Types and types of gross leases

There are two types of gross leases. The modified gross lease is the first, and the full-service lease is the second.

Modified Gross Lease

Modified gross leases include the main provisions of a gross lease. However, they can be tailored to the specific needs and requirements of the tenant and property owner. It's a mix of a gross and net lease. At the lease's inception, the tenant pays base rent.

This gross lease covers a portion of other property costs, including property taxes, utilities, and insurance. For example, this modification may say that the tenant will pay the electricity bill but that the property owner is responsible for garbage pickup.

Modified gross leasing is commonly used in commercial spaces with more than one tenant. The landlord pays for operating costs, while the tenant pays property expenses.

Full-service lease

A full-service lease can be one of your simplest gross lease options. This type of lease requires that the tenant only pay rent and the landlord takes care of all costs. In this way, the landlord adds any other expenses such as maintenance and property taxes to rent.

Gross lease allows the tenant to rent without budgeting for additional costs like property maintenance. Full-service leases, however, can be more costly because the landlord usually covers extra costs.

Tip: Always read the fine print before signing any lease.

Benefits and disadvantages of a gross lease

A gross lease has its benefits and drawbacks for both the landlord and the tenant. Below are some common pros and cons.

Advantages and disadvantages for the landlord

Gross leases can be an excellent option for property owners who want to rent out their homes.

  • You can command a higher rental fee by including operating costs in the rental price.
  • When the cost of living goes up annually, passing on inflationary costs to tenants

However, landlords face some disadvantages.

  • Assume responsibility for additional property-related costs, including unexpected expenses such as maintenance costs or larger utility bills if a renter misuses electricity or water.
  • A rise in administrative duties for the property owner. For example, taking the time to ensure that all bills and other expenses are paid on-time

Tenant Advantages and Disadvantages

The following are some of the benefits that a gross lease can provide tenants:

  • The rent is fixed so that there are no extra costs for renting the space.
  • It saves time as the tenant is not required to manage the property's finances.

Some of the main disadvantages are:

  • Higher rent even though there is no additional cost
  • A lax or indifferent landlord who is not responsive to property maintenance


  • Landlords have the option to add costs to their rent
  • Tenants can pay inflationary costs to landlords
  • Tenants don't have to pay any additional fees beyond the rent
  • Tenants have the opportunity to focus on their business and not on renting space.


  • Any additional costs incurred by landlords are their responsibility
  • Landlords should spend more time on administration tasks related to paying operating expenses
  • Tenants may be required to pay higher rent than if the bills were paid.
  • Tenants could have to deal if their landlords don't maintain maintenance.

Gross Leases Vs. Net Leases

A net lease is a different type of lease than a gross one. A net lease is a contract where the tenant takes on some or all of the costs associated with the property, such as utilities and maintenance. There are three types.

Although net leases give tenants more significant control over certain costs and property aspects, they come with increased responsibility. For example, tenants may be allowed to make minor repairs if they are responsible for maintenance. But they are also responsible for most repairs.

Sometimes, even though tenants pay maintenance costs, landlords restrict or prohibit any cosmetic changes to the property. Variable utility charges are also applicable to tenants. Different strategies may be used to reduce consumption to manage the costs.

FAQs on Gross Lease

What's the Difference Between a Lease & Rent?

A lease is an agreement between a landlord and tenant, where the landlord grants the tenant full rights to the property. Rent, on the contrary, is the fee charged by a property owner for exclusive use by a tenant of their property.

What are the main types and uses of commercial leases?

Gross and net commercial leases are the two main types. These two types can be further divided into modified gross, full service, gross, single, double net leases, and triple net leases.

What is the Most Common Type Of Commercial Lease?

The gross lease is the most basic and common type. It is a contract between a landlord or tenant where the lessee, in return for the exclusive use of the property, agrees that the lessor will pay him a fixed amount for some time. This includes rent and all costs associated with ownership, such as taxes, insurance, and utilities.

If you are looking for more information on lease types, we are here to help at A Street Partners.


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