Community News and Insights

Community News and Insights

The Difference Between Usable and Rentable Square Feet

Sacha R - Friday, April 24, 2020

rentable sqft

Compared to renting or buying a home, renting an office space is in a league of its own. There are many terms within a commercial lease that you should be aware of so you can get the best deal and office for you.

A term that is often overlooked but that is important to know is the Gross-up Factor. This is the difference between usable and rentable square feet, with the difference being your proportionate share of common areas such as hallways and bathrooms.

For example, an office that has 3,000 usable square feet is usually measured at around 3,500 rentable square feet. While you can only use 3,000 square feet, you’ll be charged for the 3,500.

Comparing Usable and Rentable Square Feet

Usable Square Feet

For the most part, usable square feet includes all of the office area that is available to you to operate your business in. Conference rooms, break rooms, private offices, furniture, and equipment will all be in the usable square feet. If any storage space, supply closets or restrooms or designated for use by your company only, they’re also considered usable square feet.

Be aware that usable square feet can also contain pillars, recessed entries, and other small alcoves that might not be very useful. When you tour an office in person make note of any of these types of areas and subtract them from the usable square feet on the listing.

Rentable Square Feet

Rentable square feet is the usable square feet plus a percentage of the common areas in the building. These common areas include lobbies, hallways, bathrooms, conference rooms, and any other areas open to all tenants within the building.

A building owner can’t predict how much each tenant will use the common areas. Instead, it is figured as a pro-rata share. Each renter pays for the common areas in proportion to the amount of usable office space they’re renting.

What is Load Factor?

Rentable square feet is calculated using something called a load factor. To get the load factor, the rentable square feet of the entire building is divided by its usable square feet. If a building has 75,000 rentable square feet and 60,000 usable square feet, the load factor is 1.25.

Then, to calculate the rentable square feet for an individual tenant, the usable square feet is multiplied by the load factor. 6,500 usable square feet multiplied by the load factor of 1.25 is 8,125 rentable square feet. The monthly rent will be based on the 8,125 rentable square feet.

One thing to note is that some areas of a building are not considered rentable or usable. Elevator shafts, stairwells, and parking lots are all included in the gross square footage of a building but do not count towards rentable square feet.

Finding Your New Office

When you tour one of our commercial properties, we’ll be able to point out the rentable square feet and the usable square feet. We’ll also assist you in finding the ideal office space for you and your employees. With over 500,000 square feet of commercial and retail space, we’re confident you’ll find your next office.

Get in touch today, we’ll be happy to help you find your new office in the Capital Region.