Single Net Lease: What Is It and How Does It Work?

Single Net Lease – A single net lease is a type of commercial real estate lease agreement where the tenant pays rent and property taxes. The landlord pays for insurance and maintenance. The property may be a standalone structure or have multiple tenants. A single net lease is the least common type of net lease.



What Is a Net Lease?

A net lease is a lease where the tenant pays one or more additional expenses besides rent. These expenses may include property taxes, insurance premiums, and maintenance costs. Net leases are different from gross leases, where the tenant only pays rent and the landlord covers all other expenses.

Net leases are usually classified into three categories: single net lease (N), double net lease (NN), and triple net lease (NNN). Each category has different implications for both the tenant and the landlord.


What Is a Single Net Lease?

A single net lease, also known as a net lease or an N lease, is a lease where the tenant pays rent and property taxes. The property taxes are usually paid to the local municipality, but sometimes they are paid to the landlord who then passes them on to the municipality. The landlord is responsible for all other expenses, such as insurance, maintenance, repairs, and utilities.

A single net lease is a form of pass-through lease, where the landlord passes on some of the costs associated with the property to the tenant. This reduces the landlord’s risk and liability but also lowers the rent amount. The tenant benefits from paying a lower rent but also assumes some of the risk and liability of owning the property.

How Does a Single Net Lease Compare to Other Lease Types?

A single net lease is less common than other types of net leases because it only shifts one expense category to the tenant. Most landlords prefer to pass on more expenses to the tenant to reduce their exposure and increase their return on investment. Most tenants prefer to pay more rent and avoid paying additional expenses that may vary over time.

This lease may be suitable for properties that have low property taxes and high maintenance costs. For example, a single net lease may be used for an older building that requires frequent repairs and upkeep. A single net lease may also be used for properties that have multiple tenants who share common areas and facilities.


This lease has some advantages and disadvantages for both parties. For the landlord, a single net lease reduces the tax burden and simplifies the accounting process. However, it also reduces the rent income and increases the maintenance costs. For the tenant, a single net lease lowers the rent amount and provides some flexibility in choosing an insurance provider. However, it also increases the tax liability and exposes the tenant to potential tax increases.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Single Net Leases

Some of the benefits of a single net lease are:

Some of the drawbacks of a single net lease are:

Tips for Landlords and Tenants

Tips for Landlords

Thoroughly Screen Tenants

Conduct a comprehensive screening process to ensure you select reliable and financially stable tenants. This may include reviewing credit history, requesting references, and conducting background checks.

Carefully Draft Lease Agreements

Clearly outline the terms and conditions of the single net lease in a well-drafted agreement. Include details about rent, expense allocation, lease duration, renewal options, and any additional provisions that protect your interests.

Conduct Property Inspections

Regularly inspect the property to identify any maintenance or repair needs. Promptly address issues to maintain the value and functionality of the property.

Maintain Open Communication

Foster good communication with your tenants. Respond promptly to their inquiries, address concerns, and keep them informed about any changes or updates related to the property or lease agreement.

Review and Adjust the Rent

Periodically assess the market conditions and consider adjusting the rent accordingly. It’s essential to strike a balance between maximizing your returns and ensuring the rent remains competitive.

Tips for Tenants

Carefully Review the Lease Agreement

Thoroughly read and understand the terms and conditions of the single net lease agreement before signing. Seek legal advice if necessary to ensure you fully comprehend your rights, obligations, and any potential financial implications.

Conduct Due Diligence

Before committing to a single net lease, research the property and its location. Consider factors such as market conditions, accessibility, foot traffic, and potential for future growth or development.

Negotiate Favorable Terms

Engage in lease negotiations to secure terms that are advantageous to your business. This may include negotiating the base rent, expense allocation, renewal options, or any other provisions that can benefit your specific needs.

Budget for Additional Expenses

While This lease typically requires tenants to pay only property taxes, be prepared for potential increases in operating expenses, such as insurance or utilities, that are not included in the lease. Account for these costs in your budgeting and financial planning.

Maintain the Property

Even though tenants in single-net leases have limited responsibility for property maintenance, taking care of the leased premises can create a positive working environment and help maintain a good landlord-tenant relationship. Report any maintenance issues promptly to the landlord for resolution.

Remember, both landlords and tenants should seek legal counsel and professional advice to ensure they fully understand their rights and responsibilities before entering into a single net lease agreement.

In conclusion, A single net lease is one of the options available for commercial real estate leasing. It is important for both landlords and tenants to understand how a single net lease works and how it compares to other types of leases before entering into an agreement.

Frequently Asked Questions (F&Qs)

What is single net vs double net?

Single net and double net are types of net leases, which are commercial leases that require the tenant to pay for certain operating expenses in addition to the base rent. The primary expenses that are typically included in net leases are property taxes, insurance, and maintenance.

Here is a table that summarizes the key differences between single-net and double-net leases:

Feature Single Net Lease Double Net Lease
Operating expenses Property taxes Property taxes and insurance
Base rent Higher Lower
Tenant responsibility Less More
Landlord responsibility More Less


What is a single-tenant net lease?

A single-tenant net lease (STNL) is a type of commercial lease in which a single tenant leases all of the space in a property from a landlord. The tenant is responsible for paying all property-related expenses, including property taxes, insurance, and maintenance. The landlord is responsible for making any capital improvements to the property.

What does absolute net mean?

In commercial real estate, absolute net refers to a type of lease in which the tenant is responsible for all operating expenses associated with the property, including property taxes, insurance, maintenance, and repairs. The landlord is responsible for nothing other than the physical structure of the property.

What is the difference between a lessee and a lessor?

A lessor is a person who owns the property or asset and allows the lessee to use it for a specified period and rentThe lessee is the person who pays to borrow the property or asset from the lessor and returns it at the end of the contractThe lessor has the legal ownership of the property or asset, while the lessee has the temporary possession and use of it