AI Review for Modified Gross Office Lease Agreements

Learn how integrating AI contract review into your Modified Gross Office Lease Agreements can improve your contract negotiation, ensuring clarity, precision, and mutual understanding.

What is a Modified Gross Office Lease Agreement?

A Modified Gross Office Lease Agreement (OLM) is a type of commercial lease that falls somewhere in the middle of the spectrum between a "Gross" lease and a "Net" lease, depending on how much responsibility is undertaken by the Lessee versus the Lessor for costs associated with the property being leased.

In a Modified Gross Lease, the Lessee pays a Base Rent plus its own utilities in exchange for use of the space. The parties generally also agree that the Lessee will pay a proportionate share of some (but not all) of the costs associated with operation of the property (e.g., utilities, maintenance and repairs, property insurance, and property taxes). Any costs other than Base Rent are usually lumped together in the defined term "Additional Rent," which is paid in addition to the Base Rent.

This type of lease can vary greatly as to the types of costs that are included in Additional Rent, though it is distinguishable from a Triple Net lease in which Additional Rent includes the tenant's proportionate share of all of the above-identified costs.

Important Characteristics of Modified Gross Office Lease Agreements

Modified gross leases are typically used for commercial spaces in office buildings or towers where there is more than one tenant. As such, they are widely applicable across industries.

Notably, modified gross leases have a much more complex means of calculating the rent than do gross leases, which only involve paying a flat monthly fee. Base Rent is generally calculated on the basis of the "rentable square footage (RSF)" which is the usable square footage of the office suite the tenant will occupy plus a percentage of the floor space of all shared areas of the building. (Tenants new to commercial leasing can be surprised at the actual amount of space they are renting.)

Additional Rent is usually calculated as the tenant's proportionate share of certain property expenses, such as costs for common area utilities and maintenance ("CAM"). A tenant's "proportionate share" is calculated by dividing its RSF by the total RSF for the entire building or property. Alternatively, it may be some other percentage specified in the lease. Additional Rent may also include any other fees or charges that are attributable solely to the tenant's occupation of the premises and passed-through from the lessor, such as taxes on the tenant's personal property in the suite that have been billed to the lessor or fines incurred by the tenant for violations of law.

Usually, a tenant's monthly Rent will consist of the Base Rent, plus an estimate of the pro-rated annual Additional Rent for the month. At the end of the year, the landlord reconciles the estimated and actual Additional Rent, then sends a statement to the tenant of the balance. Overpayment of Additional Rent is often handled by offsetting future rent payments instead of receiving a refund.

Thus, these lease types should be reviewed carefully by sophisticated parties to ensure that everyone understands all of the costs, fees, and calculations.

Pros and Cons of Modified Gross Office Lease Agreements

The modified gross lease is a flexible, hybrid type of commercial lease that falls between a gross lease and a triple net lease on the cost responsibility spectrum.

Pros of this type of lease are:

  1. It is easily modifiable to the needs of the parties, both in terms of the cost responsibility spectrum and non-office commercial uses of the space
  2. It has a lower Base Rent than a gross lease
  3. It is simpler to negotiate and should have fewer variable costs than a triple net lease

Cons of this type of lease are:

  1. Its modifiability and complicated cost structure mean it should be negotiated by sophisticated parties
  2. Additional Rent is variable in nature, which makes it harder for tenants to forecast expenses
  3. If poorly negotiated, there is the potential for overcharging by the Lessor

Provisions Unique to Modified Gross Office Lease Agreements

Some of the key provisions that are found in Modified Gross Office Lease Agreements but not in standard Gross Office Lease Agreements include:

  1. Additional Rent: In our OLM, Additional Rent includes the tenant's proportionate share of Operating Expenses, a management fee (which is a percentage of Base Rent), and any other amounts to be paid by the tenant under the lease (e.g., utilities costs for its own space).
  2. Audit: This clause provides a mechanism by which the tenant can double-check the accuracy of the annual Additional Rent statement and dispute how it is calculated. Unscrupulous landlords may take advantage of the variable nature of Additional Rent costs and a lack of transparency in how they accrue to the lessor to take financial advantage of tenants. Thus, it is vital to the tenant to have some means of ensuring that it has not been overcharged.
  3. Modified Gross Lease: This provision explains the type of office lease the parties intend to execute and summarizes the costs each party will be responsible for paying.
  4. Utilities & Services: This clause defines utilities and related services and explains how the charges for them will be calculated in relation to the tenant. Are the utilities metered for each unit? If not, how is the overall cost of utilities for a multi-tenant building apportioned across tenants? It also addresses excessive use by the tenant as well as responsibility for utilities interruptions and failures.
  5. Operating Expenses: This provision defines Operating Expenses, which are a set of largely variable costs of which the tenant will likely be paying a portion as Additional Rent. It is extremely important for the tenant to ensure that these are both limited and well-defined as they may balloon significantly otherwise. Notably, in our OLM these operating expenses are limited to CAM, and do not include expenses that the owner incurs by virtue of being a property owner in the real estate business.
  6. Operating Expenses Exclusions: This helps to further define Operating Expenses.
  7. Cap on Operating Expenses: This optional provision is often included in Modified Gross Leases to so that Operating Expenses, particularly those that are controllable, don't escalate unchecked during the term of the lease. Basically, this is a provision to help tenants mitigate the risks of entering into this form of lease where they are responsible for a portion of variable expenses that they cannot directly control themselves.

Checklist for a Good Modified Gross Office Lease Agreement

To ensure that your Modified Gross Office Lease Agreement is effective, comprehensive, and legally sound, use this checklist:

  •  Clearly define the Base Rent and how it is calculated
  •  Specify what costs are included in Additional Rent
  •  Include an audit clause to allow the tenant to verify Additional Rent calculations
  •  Clearly explain the modified gross lease structure and each party's responsibilities
  •  Detail how utilities and services are charged and apportioned
  •  Carefully define and limit Operating Expenses
  •  List any exclusions from Operating Expenses
  •  Consider including a cap on controllable Operating Expenses
  •  Ensure the agreement is reviewed by legal counsel and real estate professionals
  •  Have the agreement signed by authorized representatives of both parties
  •  Keep a fully executed copy of the agreement for your records

AI Contract Review for Modified Gross Office Lease Agreements

To give you a sense for the benefits of leveraging legal contract review software trained by lawyers, we’ve selected some sample language our software presents to customers during a review. Keep in mind that these are static in this overview, but dynamic in our software - meaning our AI identifies the key issues and proactively surfaces alerts based on importance level and position (company, 3rd party, or neutral) and provides suggested revisions that mimic the style of the contract and align with party names and defined terms.

These samples represent a small sample of the pre-built, pre-trained Legal AI Contract Review solution for Modified Gross Office Lease Agreements. If you’d like to see more, we invite you to book a demo.


For: Both

Alert: May be missing an article covering the lease rent.

Guidance: It is crucial to clearly define the lease rent, payment terms, and any potential adjustments. This primary legal principle helps avoid disputes and misunderstandings between the landlord and tenant, ensuring both parties understand their financial obligations and can plan accordingly.

For instance, when negotiating an office lease agreement for a commercial property, a well-defined article outlining the lease rent, payment terms, and potential adjustments can prevent future disputes and ensure a smooth leasing experience. This may include specifying the rent amount, due date, and any annual increases.

It is essential to consider state and local laws governing commercial leases, rent control regulations, and applicable tax laws to ensure compliance and avoid potential legal issues. Additionally, the doctrine of ""commercial frustration"" or ""frustration of purpose"" may apply in cases where unforeseen events significantly change the circumstances under which the lease was entered into, making it impossible or impracticable for the tenant to use the leased premises for its intended purpose.

Sample Language:


In consideration of this Lease, LESSEE promises and agrees to timely pay LESSOR rent in the amount of [●●] Dollars ($[●●]) (including subsequent adjustments, if any) (the “Rent”), without any abatement, deduction or setoff for any reason whatsoever, except as may be expressly provided in this Lease, for each and every month of the Term.


For: Lessor

Alert: May be missing an article regarding late payment of rent.

Guidance: It is crucial for both landlords and tenants to establish clear terms and conditions regarding the timely payment of rent and the consequences of late payment. This understanding helps prevent disputes and misunderstandings, allowing both parties to manage their expectations and avoid potential conflicts.

For instance, a lease agreement may include a late payment clause that outlines the late fees applied for each day the rent is overdue and the landlord's right to terminate the lease if the rent is not paid within a specified grace period. This clause holds the tenant accountable for timely payment and provides the landlord with legal recourse in case of non-compliance.

It is essential to consider state-specific landlord-tenant laws, which may regulate late fees, grace periods, and the process for terminating a lease due to non-payment of rent. Compliance with these laws is necessary to avoid potential legal issues. Additionally, exceptions such as the doctrine of ""constructive eviction"" may impact the tenant's obligation to pay rent, depending on the jurisdiction and the specific circumstances.

Sample Language:


If LESSEE fails to make any payment due hereunder to LESSOR when due, LESSOR may: (a) charge interest on the past due amount at the highest rate permitted under applicable laws; and (b) require LESSEE to reimburse LESSOR for all reasonable costs incurred to collect all late payment and associated interest amounts, including, but not limited to, any attorneys’ fees and court costs.


For: Lessor

Alert: May be missing an article regarding rent abatement for damages to the leased premises.

Guidance: Rent abatement is a crucial legal principle in office lease agreements, as it permits tenants to temporarily reduce or suspend rent payments when the leased premises become damaged or uninhabitable. This principle is based on the implied warranty of habitability and the covenant of quiet enjoyment, which obligate landlords to maintain the premises in a habitable condition and ensure tenants can use the space without interference.

In practice, rent abatement provisions help prevent disputes and misunderstandings between landlords and tenants by clearly defining the circumstances under which rent abatement is applicable and outlining the process for determining the appropriate reduction or suspension of rent payments.

However, the doctrine of ""independent covenants"" serves as a significant exception to the primary legal principle of rent abatement. Under this doctrine, the tenant's obligation to pay rent and the landlord's obligation to maintain the premises are considered separate and independent covenants in the lease agreement. This means that even if the leased premises become damaged or uninhabitable, the tenant may still be obligated to pay rent, unless the lease agreement specifically provides for rent abatement in such circumstances.

To ensure compliance with applicable regulations and a fair resolution for both parties, it is essential to consider state-specific landlord-tenant laws and any local ordinances governing commercial leases. Additionally, both landlords and tenants should carefully review and negotiate the terms of their lease agreements to ensure a clear understanding of their respective rights and obligations in the event of damages to the leased premises.

Sample Language:


If the Leased Premises are damaged or destroyed by fire or other casualty event during the Term, then the Rent shall be reduced in proportion to the portion of the Leased Premises rendered unusable by such damage or destruction, from the date of such damage or destruction until restoration is complete. LESSEE shall not be entitled to rental abatement if the damage or destruction is due to the fault or neglect of LESSEE or its employees, subLESSEEs, contractors, or invitees.

Best Practices for Using Modified Gross Office Lease Agreements

To make the most of your Modified Gross Office Lease Agreements and ensure their effectiveness, follow these best practices:

  1. Understand the Structure: Make sure you fully understand the modified gross lease structure and what costs you will be responsible for as a tenant. Don't hesitate to ask questions if anything is unclear.
  2. Negotiate Key Terms: While the base structure of a modified gross lease may be set, many of the specific terms, such as the Base Rent, Additional Rent components, and Operating Expense definitions, can be negotiated. Work with your real estate broker and attorney to negotiate terms that are favorable to you.
  3. Conduct Due Diligence: Before signing, thoroughly review the agreement and conduct due diligence on the property and the Lessor. Make sure you understand the condition of the property and any potential issues that could impact your business operations or costs.
  4. Plan for Variable Costs: Because Additional Rent can be variable, it's important to plan for potential fluctuations in your monthly costs. Work with the Lessor to get estimates of these costs and factor them into your budgeting.
  5. Utilize the Audit Clause: If your lease includes an audit clause, don't be afraid to use it if you suspect that your Additional Rent charges are incorrect. Regular audits can help ensure that you're not being overcharged.
  6. Communicate with Your Lessor: Maintain open lines of communication with your Lessor throughout the lease term. Promptly notify them of any issues with the property or services, and work collaboratively to resolve any disputes that may arise.
  7. Keep Good Records: Maintain copies of all lease documents, amendments, notices, and correspondence related to the lease. Good recordkeeping can be invaluable in the event of a dispute or audit.


Modified Gross Office Lease Agreements offer a flexible, middle-ground approach to commercial leasing, balancing the cost responsibilities between the Lessor and Lessee. By understanding the unique provisions of these agreements, such as Additional Rent, Operating Expenses, and audit rights, businesses can effectively navigate this leasing structure and achieve a successful tenancy.

To ensure the effectiveness of your Modified Gross Office Lease Agreement, it's important to carefully review and negotiate the terms, conduct thorough due diligence, plan for variable costs, and maintain good communication and records throughout the lease term. By working with experienced legal and real estate professionals and following best practices, you can create a strong, mutually beneficial leasing arrangement that meets your business needs.

Our guides are for informational purposes only. Such information is not legal advice and is not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or an up-to-date representation of LegalOn's legal content. Nor is the information tailored to the unique needs or objectives that accompany each transaction. For legal advice for a specific problem, you should consult an attorney licensed to practice law in the appropriate jurisdiction for each transaction.

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