What Is an Index Lease? Overview, Pros & Cons

An index lease is an agreement between the parties to a sale in which the seller holds the property until the buyer makes full payment of the purchase price. A seller with good credit and equity can often get higher payments through an index lease.

What Is an Index Lease?

Index leases are a form of provision commonly used in commercial real estate lease agreements. Unlike standard leases or graded leases, index leases do not have a predetermined rise over time.

What Is an Index Lease?

Similar to an adjustable-rate mortgage, the phrase “index lease” may be defined as follows: Similar to an adjustable-rate mortgage, index leases can fluctuate. Typically, the consumer price index is used to account for inflation in these fluctuations.

How do index leases work?

Index leases consist of four pillars: base rent, common lease indexes, a rise rate, and a growth cap. They each serve a distinct purpose in the creation of an index lease.

Base rent is the minimal amount of rent that the lessor will charge. An index of usage is a measure with the same rate of change as the index. A rate of rise is a continual addition to the base rent. A growth cap is the maximum annual rent increase allowed.

Base rent

Base rent often refers to the minimal amount of rent charged for a space with variable rent. In the event of an index lease, this is normally the same as the rent charged at the beginning of the lease or throughout the preceding period.

In other forms of leases, however, it is feasible to pay a basic rent in addition to running expenses or, in the case of retail, a percentage of sales.

What Is an Index Lease?

Common Lease Indexes


As an index, prime represents the interest rate that banks would charge consumers with the highest credit scores.


The CPI is the consumer price index. The CPI informs renters of the annual rent rise. Rents tend to grow annually in tandem with rising property values. Les ententes de location should specify the yearly CPI index used and the rent changes. CPI can be changed seasonally and regionally. It is crucial to understand which area and indices are being utilized.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) publishes the producer price index (PPI), which is a series of indexes that calculates and depicts the average change in selling prices for domestic production over time.


The London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR, is a worldwide recognized benchmark rate. Major worldwide banks utilize LIBOR to lend to one another in the international interbank market for short-term loans. This index is being deprecated as institutions transition to alternative indexes.

Rent increase frequency:

The frequency of rent increases refers to how often your variable payments are scheduled to increase. The most frequent forms of rent increases occur annually or biannually.

What Is an Index Lease?

Growth cap:

Typically, landlords will not want to include a growth cap in a lease agreement. Tenants will attempt to negotiate a growth cap, though. The imposition of growth limits prevents the rent from increasing by a limitless amount. This will prevent the renter from being required to pay an exorbitant sum that they may be unable to afford.

There are other techniques to restrict exposure to increases, including year-over-year and year-over-base comparisons. Unlike year over year, which restricts the rise to a predetermined amount over the previous year, year over base establishes a restriction for the initial year of the lease.

The pros and cons of using an index lease as a landlord


Using an index lease to establish the monthly rent enables it to be based on an independently published index and reduces the likelihood that tenants would contest it.

Due to the fact that everything is specified in the public index for the tenant to study prior to signing the lease, they should have a solid grasp of the lease agreement. This will ultimately result in fewer issues for both the renter and the landlord.

What Is an Index Lease?


When utilizing an index lease, it is essential to view the whole picture. The basis for rent increases should be the impact of inflation on the landlord’s costs. If the landlord want to continue generating a profit, they must comprehend how inflation will affect their spending.

The CPI index’s accuracy varies. The landlord may establish the CPI while creating the lease, but if the cost of living increases more than anticipated, the CPI will not be correct, resulting in a loss for the landlord.


Index Lease – A form of graded lease in which rent increases are linked to the consumer price index or another economic indicator.

What Is an Index Lease?

A rental rate under an index lease is tied to a widely acknowledged price index that reflects increases in the cost of living. This permits landlords to increase rents in accordance with economic developments anytime the lease is reevaluated, often once a year.

In contrast, a step lease requires periodic increases of a certain percentage, regardless of the cost of living at the moment.

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