As the economy slowly improves, a lot of previously vacant office space is now being re-leased at historically low rental rates. This is giving both landlords and tenants the opportunity to modify the manner in which square footage is measured for purposes of determining the rent. In negotiating leases, the parties need to know what standard of measurement will be utilized to set the rents. Landlords, and we hope most tenants, are familiar with “rentable square feet” and “usable square feet” as common concepts used in today’s leasing market. The concept of “load factor” also needs to be understood by both parties, as it allocates the common area expenses of the building to the tenants. 

The Building Owners and Managers Association (“BOMA”) has for decades provided standard methods of measuring rentable space. Until 2010, the standard for office buildings was the BOMA standard published in 1996. However, in 2010 BOMA updated the office measurement guideline to create a two part (“A” and “B”) optional standard. In oversimplified terms, the new option “B” creates a single load factor for the entire building applied to all the occupied space in the building for determining the rentable square footage for all tenants.

The heads up here for landlords and tenants is that where your lease forms make reference to “BOMA standards” – that is not sufficient. If the older 1996 standard is referenced, or the newer 2010 BOMA standard is used, the parties need to be specific and understand the financial impact of which method is used.

Learn more about the latest BOMA standards at the BOMA website: www.boma.org.