The “Split Incentive”, or as I have also heard it called, the “Split Incentive Disincentive”, is going to go away, and commercial real estate professionals had better be prepared for it. Here’s the “Split Incentive” problem in a nutshell: Building owners construct or buy a commercial building which they net lease to tenants, who pay the operating expenses, maintenance, insurance, etc., or in the context of a multiple tenant building, pay a proportionate share of such costs, typically based on rentable square footage. By paying only a proportionate share of, say, energy costs not based on actual use, the tenant has no incentive to save on energy costs by installing more energy efficient lighting and equipment. And, if the owner decides to incur the expense of upgrading its building by adding “green” improvements, it can’t recover that expense from its tenants, even if the “green” improvements result in energy savings to all the tenants (for more on the “Split Incentive”, check out my past article.

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