Decoding Gross Lease vs. Full-Service Lease in Commercial Real Estate

Apr 23, 2024

Understanding the nuances of commercial real estate leases is essential for both landlords and tenants. Two common types of leases in the commercial real estate world are Gross Lease and Full-Service Lease. While they may sound similar, there are key differences between the two that can significantly impact the financial obligations of the parties involved.

Gross Lease

A Gross Lease, also known as a full-service lease, is a type of lease where the landlord is responsible for covering most, if not all, of the property expenses. This typically includes utilities, maintenance, property taxes, insurance, and other operating costs. Tenants pay a fixed rent amount, and the landlord takes care of the rest.

One of the main advantages of a Gross Lease for tenants is the predictability of expenses. Since most costs are included in the rent, tenants can budget more effectively without worrying about unexpected charges.

However, landlords may build in a higher base rent to account for the additional services provided under a Gross Lease. It's essential for tenants to carefully review the lease terms to understand what is included and ensure they are not overpaying for services they may not need.

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Full-Service Lease

A Full-Service Lease, on the other hand, is a lease structure where tenants pay a base rent amount plus additional costs for operating expenses. These additional costs can vary but commonly include utilities, property taxes, insurance, maintenance, and janitorial services.

Unlike a Gross Lease, tenants in a Full-Service Lease have more visibility into the breakdown of expenses, as they are billed separately for operating costs. This transparency can be beneficial for tenants who want to control certain expenses or have more flexibility in choosing service providers.

Landlords may prefer Full-Service Leases as they can pass on operating costs to tenants and potentially earn additional income beyond the base rent. However, this type of lease can also expose landlords to fluctuations in operating expenses, which could impact their bottom line.

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Key Differences

When deciding between a Gross Lease and a Full-Service Lease, it's essential to consider the following factors:

  • Financial Responsibility: In a Gross Lease, the landlord bears most of the financial responsibility, while in a Full-Service Lease, tenants pay for operating expenses.
  • Cost Predictability: Gross Leases offer more predictability in expenses, whereas Full-Service Leases can vary based on actual operating costs.
  • Transparency: Full-Service Leases provide transparency in expenses, allowing tenants to see exactly what they are being charged for.


Deciding between a Gross Lease and a Full-Service Lease depends on the specific needs and preferences of both landlords and tenants. Each type of lease has its advantages and disadvantages, so it's crucial to carefully review the terms and negotiate to ensure a fair agreement for all parties involved.

Whether you are a landlord looking to maximize income or a tenant seeking cost predictability, understanding the differences between Gross and Full-Service Leases is key to making informed decisions in the commercial real estate market.