Importance of Lease Abstraction

A lease abstract is a detailed summary of key business information in a commercial real estate lease. This road map of the lease allows a lease administrator, leasing agent, property or maintenance manager to renew frequently referenced lease information without having to take time perusing a lease to find the needed information. It also allows an aggregation of critical lease information such as expiration and option notice dates to better manage a portfolio of leases.

Commercial leases are often full of long wordy paragraphs written in convoluted legal language and abstracts cut through all of that language and condenses the lease to its important information.

The contents of an abstract vary depending on the type of lease, but all leases contain the following main terms :- (1) name of the Tenant, (2) name of the landlord, (3) term of the lease, (4) amount of square footage leased, (5) space number, (6) the base rent, (7) percentage rent and (8) list of documents modifying terms of lease.

Most often an individual requires a lease abstract not for his own understanding of the terms of the lease but for financing purposes. When an individual seeks to purchase a commercial property, he/she must perform what is called a due diligence. Due diligence requires the potential buyer to inspect all aspects of the property including the status of the leases associated with the property. The review of the abstract of leases rather than the lease themselves makes the task of due diligence much more cost and time efficient. A lease abstract will provide the essential details of a transaction long after the terms are forgotten by the parties who negotiated them. It is thus a powerful tool to help administer and audit a lease during its term.

The most critical information to be included is the financial lease information. The obvious reasons are because the financial components of each lease, drive every commercial real estate transaction. While most if not all financial information should be included in the lease abstract, the inclusion of non-financial information offers more discretion to the abstraction than financial discretion to the abstractor than financial information. Inclusion of these provisions is often dictated by what a party deems relevant in connection with the specific property or tenant in question.