Guest Post by Sara Stanley, MCR, Managing Director at Commercial Tenant Services, Inc.

With a substantial number of office leases expiring by 2026, landlords increasingly seek to retain all money, which could include erroneous billings.

Brokers may recommend to their clients to avoid lease audits. However, despite other advice you may be getting, Audit Clause limitations are not so limiting! Recovering large overpayments for tenants with restrictive or non-existent lease clauses is certainly achievable. The increase in creative ways of hiding behind ‘paper-tiger’ tropes around audit language, which may make it easier for landlords to pass on unsubstantiated charges, is commonplace.

Lease Audit is now a standard best practice in North America which supports a tenant’s right to review documents. Leases may specifically state that audits are prohibited or include no language at all (e.g., “be silent”). In such instances, Lease Auditors typically find recoveries for clients. For instance, obvious errors that follow lease language around OpEx (Operating Expense), CAM (Common Area Maintenance), Service Charges, Real Estate Taxes, Utility, HVAC, unusual pandemic expenses, etc., are generally excluded from these audit constraints. 

Lease Audit is now a prevailing convention and compliance function. As such, limiting a tenant’s review of documents may disrupt the spirit of your agreement.

Can a tenant truly expose hidden recoveries if a landlord refuses to supply essential and back-up documentation? Lease Auditors often have tried-and-true methods which lead to successful recoveries of monies. Have your third party, conflict-free, Lease Audit team safeguard your funds.

Sara Stanley, MCR, is Managing Director at Commercial Tenant Services, Inc.