Requiring a statement in the least that the landlord has to provide documentation (accountability) for all fees charged is the only way to ensure you are being charged fairly.
; “Savvy tenants will reduce the percentage (which ranges from 25% to 5%), and exclude non-maintenance-type costs from the calculation (e.g., taxes, insurance, utilities).”Rees also believes that maintenance and repair costs related to the buildings (i.e., roofs, building foundations, and exterior walls) should not be absorbed by tenants as these are not common areas used by the tenants or their customers.
CAM fees can escalate at a different rate than the monthly lease rate because they tend to be more variable.
So it is also important that your lease differential between "variable" and "fixed" CAM fees and include some sort of cap, or, maximum your CAM fees can be increased each year.
However, no matter how small the space, never accept the terms of any lease without asking for a better deal.
In a cautionary statement about the difficulty of breaking into the commercial real estate industry, reporter, Laura De Mars, clearly indicates that even real estate professionals may have a hard time understanding the complexities of CAM fees; “The complexity of the industry makes it tough to break into…” De Mars further states: “At shopping centers, for instance, tenants usually pay for the upkeep of the building through a common-area maintenance (CAM) fee.