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Single Net Lease

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What is a Single Net Lease?

Single net lease (SNN or N lease) is a legitimate, modest and viable option for building wealth in commercial real estate. The "N" in this lease agreement stands for "Net," which symbolizes the property tax that the tenant pays plus other operating costs. In other terms, tenants pay for property taxes and utility costs.

On the other hand, landlords cater for another addendum to lease expenses like insurance, repair, and maintenance costs. For ages, most individuals presumed a single net lease as a risky commercial lease agreement.

Years down the line and with a more informed market audience, things have changed significantly recently. As a result, experts now aggressively champion this lease structure due to its plethora of benefits.

All in all, SNN is an agreement between multitenant building owners and single tenants that makes the latter responsible for insurance, property taxes, maintenance, and common area rent. As a result, landlords perceive SNN as a less perilous investment project because it cuts costs in maintenance charges.

The basic concept behind a single net lease is that tenants only pay a percentage lease to share the building's common expenses. In short, you don't pay for any of the building's fixed costs as they get covered by your property manager, leasing agent, and subtenant. This is a total contrast to a passthrough lease where additional expenses like insurance and repairs shift from landlords to tenants.

Key Terms in a Single Net Lease

Each industry has its share of terms that expedite or simply the running process. The real estate industry is not left behind on this, especially during the assignment of leases. Binding industry terms in a commercial lease include:

Rentable Square Feet

This is a common term used to define shared areas among several tenants in a building lease. It's all about the number of usable square feet in a property, including office space and common areas like hallways, restrooms, recreational, and staircases.

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Usable Square Feet

Real estate experts use this office lease metric to describe square footage rented by a tenant. For example, the total space may encompass the storage area, closets, private restrooms, and other spots accessible by tenants.

Lease Term

Lease terms are an essential detail to decide on when making your single net lease agreement. It will influence many factors, like the amount of rent you can charge and how much time you'll have to find a new tenant.

Insurance Types

Since an office space holds a leading position in overall performance, reliable insurance options are critical in minimizing risks. Experts recommend viable policies like leasehold, property & liability, and business interruption.

Agreement Clauses

A practical assignment of lease should include an agreement clause to protect your assets from any potential liabilities that may occur due to the tenant's actions. Three essential clauses commonly found in a lease agreement are rent, term, and use.

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What Does a Single Net Lease Provide?

A single net lease is a form of a lease agreement that gives you the benefits of both a gross lease and a net lease. However, it is more fixed than a gross lease but less flexible than a net lease.

For some retail and other business owners, it provides a great way to structure ownership, use, and occupancy while improving tax benefits. Without any doubt, this provides a perfect balance of risk and reward.

Advantages of a Single Net Lease

A single net lease can dramatically simplify your business. In addition, it gives you more time for the work that matters, like marketing and sales. Here are other benefits associated with a single net lease .

Increased Cash Flow

Unknown to most people, a single net lease enables organizations and businesses to lower operational costs. In this legal agreement, tenants pay all applicable taxes, insurance, and maintenance for the rented space. This plan helps increase cash flow for the landlord and other investors in the long run.

Reduced Real Estate Tax Exposure

Landlords have a legal obligation to collect and pay real estate taxes on commercial properties. This approach has particular implications on how the landlord files his tax return and on certain taxpayers like Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs). A single net lease can be a great way to lower taxable income for a landlord in such circumstances.


Nothing beats the flexibility associated with a single net lease. However, you can enhance the prowess of this lease agreement by including a Landlord's Deduction clause in the agreement. It allows a landlord to receive reimbursement for any costs incurred during or after the tenancy term. Moreover, it gives a tenant accounting transparency and financial liability protection.

Disadvantages of a Single Net Lease

While a single net lease does offer considerable cost savings to the owner and lessee, it also has some drawbacks in certain circumstances.


Although SNN eliminates the process of sending leases, taking photos, and getting sign-offs from tenants, there is more to that. Keep in mind that single net leases require detailed planning for impressive results. Landlords and tenants in a hurry may opt for other alternatives like double or triple leases.


Taking on a single net lease might seem like you're getting the best of both worlds. Nonetheless, they can be more expensive in the long run than a regular lease. The reason is that with a single net lease, you end up paying for repairs and expenses that landlords would typically cover with a gross or triple net lease.

Challenge Calculating Monthly Profit

Due to irregular costs of building maintenance fees and insurance premiums, estimating monthly profits can be a huddle for most landlords. Still, this type of lease works perfectly for those with plenty of time and who are not concerned about regular ROI.

Single Net Lease vs. Gross Lease

In a gross lease, landlords cover approximated costs like utilities, insurance, repairs, and taxes. At the same time, the tenant forfeits a fixed percentage of rent. This is different from a modified gross lease, where a landlord and a tenant share responsibilities in paying for operating costs equally.

Tenants on a single net lease have the upper hand in such a scenario because the landlord pays for a considerable percentage of building expenses.

Single Net Lease vs. Double Net Lease

When signing a double net lease agreement (net-net or NN), tenants consent to cater for a couple of property expenses like insurance premiums, utilities, and taxes. This is contrary to a single net lease where a tenant pays for property taxes plus rent.

Single Net Lease vs. Triple Net Lease (NNN)

A triple Net Lease, also referred to as NNN or net-net-net, requires tenants to pay for repairs, maintenance, insurance, taxes, and rent. In the lease agreement, the landlord is in charge of most financial responsibilities affiliated with the property. Mainly, the landlord remains responsible for maintenance and insurance costs, unlike triple and double lease agreements.

Bottom Line

It is the dream of every commercial real estate investor to benefit from a significant ROI. Unfortunately, most property owners run from a single net lease because of its complexity, particularly when leasing office structures. Astute business owners can realize substantial savings and avoid several risks. It is vital to weigh through pros and cons before consenting to this type of lease structure.

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