The Difference Between Rentable and Usable Square Feet

usable vs rentable sfWhen reviewing and comparing office space for lease it’s important that you know how much space you actually get to use vs how much is common area for all tenants.  Every building is different.  Some have more common area space than others.  As you evaluate office space you need to ask the landlord how much of the space is usable vs rentable so you can ensure that it will accommodate your needs and budget.

You’re probably now wondering…. What is the difference between rentable and usable square feet?

Rentable Square Feet (RSF)

This is the total square footage that you actually pay rent on.  This includes the actual space you will occupy and use PLUS your pro rata share (as a percentage) of the building common areas.  Building common areas typically include the restrooms, hallways, stairwells, lobby, etc.  Building common areas (aka common area factor or load factor) typically range from 15% to 21%.  When you ask the listing agent how many sf a particular space is they will typically tell you the rentable sf.  That is why it’s important to ask what the common area factor is so you can determine if the usable sf will be enough to meet your needs.  If you occupy a single tenant building then your usable area typically equals your rentable area.

Usable Square Feet (USF)

This is the square footage that you actually occupy.  You do not share this space with the other tenants.  For example if you get a tape measure and measure a room that is 10 feet by 10 feet or 100 sf…. this is your usable space.

Here is an example of how it looks.  As you can see the common area is split up equally to all tenants.

usable vs rentable square feet

I hope this all makes sense to you.  If not feel free to contact us with questions at 512-861-0525


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