When leasing commercial real estate it's important that you ASK and KNOW what the usable square feet (USF) and the rentable square feet (RSF) are for the building and space in consideration. Since office space is typically listed with RSF, which includes more square footage than what you actually occupy it's important to know what you are paying for.
Usable Square Feet (USF)
This is the square footage that you actually occupy. There are no exclusions for columns, storage, or private restrooms. If you lease a full floor the USF includes everything within the boundaries of the floor, minus elevator shafts and stairwells.
Rental Square Feet (RSF)
This is equal to the USF plus all of the common areas that are shared with other tenants. Lobbies, stairwells, hallways, building conference rooms, fitness rooms, restrooms, etc would all be considered common areas. Tenant's pay for their pro-rata share which means they pay for the common areas in proportion to the square footage of space they rent in the building.
Make Sure You Read The Lease and Do the Math
Every building has a different ratio of USF to RSF so it's important that you read the lease and do the math. Having an architect draw up your space plan and validate that the common area calculations are also correct could save you thousands later on. If you have any questions about the difference between USF and RSF feel free to contact our company.