Conseil0218 SoMe

Are your common charges too high?

This is it! You've got your ideal office space. Accessibility, surroundings, location... everything is there! Best of all: the monthly rent is affordable and within budget. But... because of course, there is always a "but"...

Your monthly common charges are higher than expected, which makes your rent less attractive than it sounds. Worst of all, the total cost can damage your company’s profitability.

It's a common mistake: you find the correct building at the right rent and blindly sign a lease, thinking you’re doing the deal of your life. However, you don’t consider the total costs of the new rental.

It must be said that common charges tend to be less explicit in the lease contract. For example, some items are vaguely described as “other” charges, which means everything and nothing at the same time. Please pay attention!

Low costs... really?
Landlords or agents often announce relatively low provisions for the common charges to make the lease appear more attractive. They could be pulling the wool over a tenant’s eyes to entice them in.

Indeed, when negotiations begin, the tenant often faces a wake-up call. The charges are often higher - or even much higher - than was originally stated.

To avoid this, it is essential that the tenant knows exactly what they will be charged from the start. They do not want to end up with a steep bill at the end of the year. That is something no one likes to receive.

What are the types of charges?
The specification, age and construction of the building all influence the common charges levied.

There are three types of charges invoiced in Belgium each quarter:
• Common charges for all tenants of the building
• The tenant's private charges
• The charges for the landlord

It is important to ensure that the landlord's charges are not billed to tenants. Unfortunately, this is sometimes the case!

What are the solutions?
1. Be uncompromising when reading the lease and be sure to ask the right questions:
• What exactly is categorised as a common charge?
• Are you being charged for the full risk maintenance contract of the passenger lift?
• What about the full risk maintenance contract of the HVAC system?
• Who should pay for facade renovation?
• Has the building split been correctly calculated?

2. Call upon a professional
An independent Tenant Representative will examine the charges thoroughly and help you understand exactly what they are. The independent Tenant Representative will flag up irregularities and costs above the norm. They will question unjustified common charges. Of course, the independent Tenant representative knows that cost reduction is important for all companies.


Our chartered building surveyor gives you advice on what to consider before signing your lease.