What is a Gross-Up Provision in a Commercial Lease?


As a commercial tenant, you may have encountered a gross-up provision in your lease agreement without realizing it. How do you spot a gross-up provision, and why does it matter? Understanding this provision is essential for both landlords and tenants to ensure fair and sustainable operations within a commercial property. In this article, we will delve into the concept of a gross-up provision, its purpose, and the perspectives of both landlords and tenants on this issue. By the end, you’ll understand why this provision plays a role in commercial leases.

What is a Gross-Up Provision?

A gross-up provision is language in a commercial lease that allows landlords to adjust operating expenses to account for changes in occupancy levels.

Operating expenses that might vary with occupancy levels include:

  • Utilities: If fewer tenants are occupying the building, the landlord may need to pay more to keep the building heated, cooled, and lit.
  • Maintenance Costs: Some maintenance costs, such as cleaning and landscaping, may be spread evenly across all tenants, regardless of occupancy.

Sample Gross-Up Provision:

“With respect to any calendar year during the Term in which the Building is not occupied to the extent of 95% of the total rentable area of the Building, the Operating Expenses for such period shall be increased to the amount which would have been incurred has the Building been occupied to the extent of 95% of the total rentable area of the Building.”

Landlord and Tenant Perspectives on Gross-Up Provisions

  • Landlord’s Perspective: From a landlord’s perspective, a gross-up provision is essential because it ensures they can cover their operating expenses even if some tenants leave the building. For example, if a building is only 50% occupied, the landlord may not have enough income to cover all of the operating expenses. By grossing up the expenses, the landlord can ensure they receive enough revenue to maintain the property and keep it operational. Without a gross-up provision, landlords may struggle to maintain and keep the property operational if occupancy levels drop.
  • Tenant’s Perspective: From a tenant’s perspective, a gross-up provision can be a bit more complicated. On the one hand, some tenants may be concerned about paying for expenses that are not directly related to their space. However, a gross-up provision can benefit tenants by ensuring that the landlord is able to maintain the property and provide a safe and functional space for all of its tenants, which is ultimately in the tenant’s best interest.

Key Takeaways:

  • A gross-up provision in a commercial lease allows landlords to adjust operating expenses based on changes in occupancy levels. It ensures that landlords can cover their expenses even if the building is not fully occupied, maintaining the property’s functionality and upkeep.
  • While tenants may have concerns about paying for expenses unrelated to their space, the provision ultimately benefits them by ensuring a well-maintained and safe environment for all tenants.
  • Understanding and considering the implications of a gross-up provision is crucial for both landlords and tenants to foster a mutually beneficial leasing relationship.


Legal Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Each situation is unique, and laws may vary depending on your jurisdiction. Consult with a qualified attorney  to discuss your specific circumstances and obtain advice tailored to your needs.