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Ask Lane Your Own Question
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 9720
Experience:  Law Degree, specialization in Tax Law and Corporate Law, CFP and MBA, Providing Financial & Tax advice since 1986
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I am renting an office space. My landlord wants me to pay

Customer Question

I am renting an office space. My landlord wants me to pay part of his property tax.
Am I obligated to pay this?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Lane replied 3 years ago.

Lane :


Lane :

Not at all

Lane :

Nothing legally

Lane :

I still don't see you coming into the chat session, so I'll move us to the "Q&A" mode. … Maybe that will help … (We can still continue a dialogue there, just not in real-time chat, as we can here)

Expert:  Lane replied 3 years ago.

Hi Susie,

... just checking back, as I never saw you come into the chat.

Please come back, if you have further questions at all.

But simply put, your landlord CANNOT make this demand.

However, he can CERTAINLY increase your rent (WHEN YOUR CURRENT LEASE IS UP), and then, of course you have the right not to accept it.

Regardless, come back and maybe you can give me enough detail that we can have an efficient conversation.


Expert:  Tax.appeal.168 replied 3 years ago.
Welcome. Thank you for choosing us to assist you. My name is Angela and my goal is to help make your life, a little... less taxing.


I don't know what state you're in, different states have different laws regarding these matters. Though this is more of a contract law question, since the question has already been addressed here in the tax category, I will add my findings. From my research, for commercial leases...IF it is stated in the lease that you are required to pay part of the property tax, it is legal for the landlord to require you to pay part of the property tax. On the other hand, if it is not stipulated in the lease that you are required to pay part of the property tax, then you are not obligated to. You can refer to a blog on the subject matter referencing Washington state at the following link:

Even though this blog is relating to Washington state, it is likely that some other states may have the same clauses in the commercial lease agreements. You may want to check your lease.

Please let me know if you require additional clarification regarding this matter.

As we know that you have choices, we thank you for choosing this Q&A service for assistance today.
Expert:  Lane replied 3 years ago.

Hi, Your post clearly states that you are in California.

THe bottom line here is AGAIN, NO no one can force you to pay the property tax.

The lease will either (1) delineate the property tax amount as a PART of the lease, (2) the leas amount will be grossed up so that the owner can AFFORD to pay the lease or (3) this will be a classic triple net contract. This is where you pay an additional fee over and above the rent for your share of property taxes, hazard insurance and common-area maintenance.

HOWEVER, the answer stands, and is correct. THe only person who is LEGALLY OBLIGATED (by statute law) to pay property taxes is the owner.

The owner CAN ask you to sign a contract ( a lease that requires - better said DISCLOSES - the amount of the lease that is going to cover property taxes).

But NO law exists that forces you to accept this obligation.

See this:

A contract must receive such an interpretation as will make it lawful, operative, definite, reasonable, and capable of being carried into effect, if it can be done without violating the intention of the parties.

Cal. Civ. Code Ann. § 1643 (West)

To ascertain intent of parties to ambiguous contract, relations between parties, work to be done, and correspondence leading to agreement may be considered

Cal. Civ. Code Ann. § 1643 (West)

Hope this helps


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