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Rentable vs. Usable Square Feet

Commercial Square Feet - Milbrook Properties

Like every field, the commercial real estate sector has its own terminology. Whether you’re a tenant or a landlord, you need to be familiar with the key terms as well as know the differences between seemingly similar words like rentable square feet and usable square feet. As a tenant looking for spaces for lease, knowing the difference between these terms will help you understand how much space you’ll actually get when renting an office and ensure that that you get the best possible end of the deal.

Let’s study the key differences between rentable vs. usable square feet:

Usable Square Feet

Simply put, usable square feet measures the amount of commercial space you physically occupy or utilize. This obviously encompasses the premises available to your firm and workers and where you’ll have your office furniture, meetings rooms, private offices, equipment, etc. Any restrooms, break rooms, or restrooms specifically designated for your business are also included in usable square feet.

If a company occupies a full floor, and the space like janitor’s closet or electrical room is dedicated to that floor only, these areas may even be considered usable space.

Since recessed entries and columns are not usable in practical sense, examine them upon your visit and deduct them in usable square feet calculation.

Rentable Square Feet

Rentable square feet, on the other hand, includes your usable square footage and a proportion of the common areas in a building. These might include hallways, lobbies, restrooms, conference rooms, and other spaces that are open to all and are shared among all the tenants in the office building.

Since there’s no possible way to forecast how much space each business in a building will use and it’s obvious that some businesses will utilize the spaces more than others, the building owner uses a pro rate share to calculate the rents. What the tenants end up paying for the common spaces is the amount proportional to their usable spaces.

The Calculation of rentable square feet for a single tenant requires you to have a common area factor. This is calculated by dividing the rentable square feet for the entire commercial building by the usable square feet. Then, you multiple the usable square feet for an individual tenant by the common area factor. This gives you the rentable square feet figure for the particular tenant.

Commercial Real Estate In Florida, New Jersey, and New York

The difference between rentable square feet and usable square feet studied above applies to both commercial availabilities and residential availabilities. Now that you’re aware of the difference between the two terms, it’s time get to action. Milbrook Properties Ltd. has some amazing vacancies built especially for you.


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