How to Determine Usable vs. Rentable Square Feet
How to Determine Usable vs. Rentable Square Feet
How to Determine Usable vs. Rentable Square Feet

One aspect of commercial real estate which tenants don’t typically think of is the breakdown of square feet. Whether you are a real estate broker or interested in leasing/renting a commercial property, you need to know the difference between usable and rentable square feet. In many cases, you will need to find the load factor as well. This term refers to the common areas of a commercial real estate property. Our friends at SVN | Southgate Realty, LLC have provided some great information about how to determine usable and rentable square feet.


Commercial Property 101

In commercial property leasing most rent is charged per square feet, rentable square feet (RSF) to be exact. This measurement is usable square feet (USF) plus a tenant’s share of the common areas (USF multiplied by the property’s load factor). Rentable, usable, load factor? What am I talking about? Keep reading.measuring square feet for commercial property

Since every tenant out there is striving to get the best deal possible, it’s absolutely essential to understand how square footage in a commercial property is calculated. While this seems like a pretty straightforward task, you’d be surprised by the variations. To combat errors most landlords use the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) standards for measuring their commercial property.

Importantly, knowing the difference between USF and RSF can help any tenant better negotiate. Below, we provide definitions and accompanying calculations for USF, RSF and a building’s Load Factor. Hopefully after reading this you will get a better idea of how to get the best deal on your next commercial property lease.

Usable Square Feet (USF)

In commercial property leasing “usable square feet” is exactly as it sounds, the square footage a tenant uses while leasing a property. Basically, it means any space used solely and directly by a tenant.

For tenants leasing a suite or multiple suites…

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