Office Common Areas Available to Tenants

A business that leases an office space in a commercial building is not confined only to the spaces being rented. The business and its employees are also entitled to the use of other areas in the building, generally referred to as the common areas. Common areas in a commercial building refer to the spaces that may be used or may benefit more than tenant. Example of common areas are corridors, toilets, lobbies, and receiving rooms of the building.


When renting an office space in a commercial building, a business owner has to deal with the intricacies  of the measurement of office spaces as against usable space and common area spaces. The business owner who will be renting an office space must be familiar with the following concepts in the measurement of office space floor area:


Usable Area

This is the actual area of floor space in a commercial building that is capable of actual occupation. The usable area of an office may be computed by measuring the finished surface on the office side of the permanent walls or corridors, going to the center of the partitions separating the office space from the adjoining usable area and the inside finished surface of the dominant portions of the usable side of the building outside walls. The area occupied by the columns and other projections necessary to the building is not to be deducted from the measurement of usable area. The usable area is the portion of the building to which a business tenant has exclusive access to. This area is off limits to the other tenants of the building.


Floor Rentable Area

It is the tenant business owner’s portion of the entire office floor, minus the building elements that penetrate through the floor to the different areas below the said floor. The floor rentable area is fixed throughout the life of the building and must not be altered by the re-configuration of corridor sizes. The floor rentable area may be computed by measuring the finished surface inside the dominant portions of the permanent outer walls of the building, minus the major vertical penetrations of the floor. Columns and other projections that are basic necessities of a building are not to be deducted from the rentable area.

The rentable area of the office to be leased on a certain building floor is determined by multiplying the usable area of the office by the quotient of the division of the floor rentable area of the floor by the usable area of the floor. The ration is FR/U.


Common Area

The common area of a commercial building that rents out office spaces includes the parts of the building that are intended to provide services to all the tenants, but are not included in the office area of any specific tenant. The common area also includes all associated areas to which all tenants have access to and are included to the floor rentable area in the calculation of the rentable area.


Typically, the common areas of a commercial building that is being rented out to tenants include the main lobby of the building, the secondary lobbies, the egress corridors needed to reach the different office spaces, the fire control center, the toilets in the different parts of the building, and other areas to which all tenants have access to.

There could be possible confusion with regards to some common areas that other tenants do not generally use but still are classified as common areas. The whole floor of a building may be rented out to only one tenant which means that other tenants typically do not have any business on that floor. The mini lobby, the toilets, and other service areas in the floor are used exclusively by the employees of the business that leases the office spaces in the floor because they are the only ones in that floor. However, the mini lobby, the toilets, and other service areas in the floor will still be classified as common areas which means that other tenants in the building can still exercise access to those areas.


To emphasize the point, the service areas such as fire alarm rooms, water sprinkle control room, and janitors closet in the floor that is leased to one tenant cannot be considered as the exclusive use of the said tenant. Those areas can be accessed by all building personnel who are authorized to use or service those utilities mentioned.

The business owner who plans to lease an office space in a commercial building must do things right by asking the building owner to specifically identify the common areas of the building they can have access to and make that part of the lease agreement. This will prevent any future problem or conflict with the building owner and the other tenants of the building.


The Kennedy Office Center offers a lot of common areas to its tenants. Buildings A,B, & C have free common area conference rooms with online scheduling. Buildings A and C offers free common area showers to its tenants. Building D has an approximately 7,000 square feet of warehouse space that is available whenever it is needed by the tenants. Kennedy Office Center also offers common area picnic tables, locker rooms, open space, and smoking shelters.

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