Our building got bought about a year ago by a new owner, who’s been aggressively undertaking various construction projects, albeit mostly on the building next door, which was virtually gutted. For our building, it’s mostly been about constant roof work, as well some office consolidation on our floor which resulted in the hall outside our office looking like a mine shaft entrance for several months. One real bonus, however, was the installation of a card security system on the outer doors, preventing intruders like the one I ran into outside our server room at 3:30 in the morning some time back.
But the real drama began with a one-line addition to our January rent bill labelled CAM charge: $424.
“Waitaminnut!” I said, “our CAM [Common Area Maintenance] charge is built into our square footage!” Basically, our lease calls for us to pay for more square footage than is actually in our office suite, the extra rent going to pay for the halls and other common areas of the building. There shouldn’t have been an extra charge on top of that so far as I could see.
Apparently, however, all that construction didn’t come cheap, and I was told that the new, apparently monthly charge was part of a clause in our lease allowing for adjustments in our CAM charge reflecting increased costs after the first year. Since 15% of our space was charged as CAM already, this meant that the costs must have gone up something like 150% — either that, or something was very, very wrong.
I got on the phone to our property manager to discuss the situation, and, after a bit of back and forth, we got into a sort of “good news/bad news” situation. The good news: I’d only have to pay the new charge for one month. The bad news: when our office lease comes up in May, the new owner is looking for a rent increase of over 30%.
Now, it’s possible the situation’s changed in the 20 months since I last looked into it, but for 30% more than we’re paying now, I’m sort of thinking that we could get ourselves something with a bit more “s” in the “swanky” department…or at least some cool miner hats with lights on them for when we walk down the hall to the bathroom.
I think it’s time to start calling some commercial realtors…