I am renting a commercial space in Fremont, CA. And I had an appraiser come in and state that some of the square footage my landlord is calculating as to my space should not be counted. I wanted to know where I can find the code? Which code or city plan would apply for commercial square footage in Fremont, CA. I tried the local planning and city commission, but could not find any codes. Would the code be county wise (Alameda county) or city wise (City of Fremont). If someone could suggest where I could look, then I can check there. Thanks so much.
I agree with Attorney Spirtos in that the measurement of a commercial space is likely not in the code. The place to look is in your lease. Every commercial lease should specify how the square footage of a premises has been calculated – there is no required method; no right or wrong way, so long as all premises within the building or shopping center are measured according to the same standard. Most landlords will use the standards and guidelines of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International. The most common method for measuring the square footage is to measure the “rentable” or “leasable “square footage. This entails measuring from the outside of exterior walls and to the middle of a demising (shared) wall. It may also include a load factor to account for common areas. This method will end up with a larger measurement than measuring the “usable” square footage, which would be calculated by measuring from the inside of any wall to the inside of the opposite wall. Regardless of the method used, however, the lease should define how the Landlord arrived at their measurement. And, because rent and operating expenses are likely based upon your square footage, it is imperative to verify the Landlord’s measurement (being careful to use the same standard as set forth in the lease) before you sign your lease.
I hope this helps.
This response does not create an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to provide legal advice for your specific situation
Construction / Development Lawyer
I don't believe there is a specific code in Fremont that determines how square footage is calculated. For purposes of commercial space, there are standard practices for measuring square footage. Some use a simple formula that multiplies the length of the unit by the width of the unit. Others use a more complicated formula that accounts for each room separately. The most common one however is the simple formula.
If the landlord misstated the square footage on your lease, that would not be a code violation, but might be a breach of your lease agreement.
You are not likely to find the formula for determining square footage in the local city codes. Disputes sometimes arise in this area because the landlord may calculate the "usable space" by simply measuring the outside dimensions of the building, whereas a more favorable, i.e. smaller "usable space" can be determined by using interior dimensions. Look in the lease agreement for some guidance or in the practices of local appraisers. The determination of the formula for "usable space" should be made during the negotiation stage. Everything is negotiable at this point in most cases. Larger and more sophisticated landlords may offer you a "take it or leave it" situation.