Triple Net Lease Explained

Property owners may find themselves feeling overwhelmed by the responsibilities of managing their properties and underwhelmed by in the income they receive net of the expenses and headaches. While being a property owner can come with many significant benefits, the question may be, “is there a better way?”


Triple net leasing is a widely used lease agreement found in commercial real estate, where tenants agree to pay for property taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs in addition to the base rent. This arrangement does offer advantages as well as disadvantages for both landlords and tenants. For property owners, triple net lease offers specific tax benefits and can be a valuable 1031 exchange process.

From the landlord's perspective, triple net leasing offers a predictable income stream and reduces risk, as tenants are responsible for property management and unexpected expenses. Additionally, this arrangement limits the landlord's management responsibilities, although finding tenants willing to cover additional expenses may be more challenging and may cause owners to have less control over their property. On the other hand, tenants benefit from lower rent, more control over the properties management, and long-term investment opportunities. However, they may face additional expenses and reduced flexibility compared to other lease arrangements.

An additional benefit for property owners is that they can claim depreciation on the property, further reducing their tax liability. Triple net leasing allows landlords to defer paying capital gains taxes when selling a property and purchasing another similar property within a specified timeframe, known as the 1031 exchange process. A 1031 exchange is a tax-deferred exchange that allows property owners to defer paying capital gains taxes when selling a property and purchasing a similar property within a specified time frame. When it comes to 1031 exchanges into triple net lease properties, the process is very much like any other property exchange, but with a few key considerations. When identifying replacement properties, it's essential to consider the potential for a triple net lease and evaluate the tenant's creditworthiness.

The Process 

Firstly, an investor should identify potential replacement properties within 45 days of selling their original property and must also acquire the new property or fund within 180 days of the sale.  Secondly, it's crucial to work with a qualified intermediary (QI) to ensure that the exchange is compliant with IRS regulations. The QI holds the proceeds from the sale of the original property and uses them to purchase the replacement property, avoiding any taxable event. The QI must be an independent third party, and the investor cannot take possession of the funds at any point during the exchange. Thirdly, when exchanging into a triple net lease property, an investor must evaluate existing lease agreements to ensure that they meet their investment goals and objectives. Investors should consider the tenant's lease terms, creditworthiness, and property location, any other factors that would be relevant.

In Short, to 1031 into triple net lease properties, investors must identify potential replacement properties, work with a qualified intermediary, evaluate the existing lease agreement, and conduct thorough due diligence.

Types of Triple Net Lease Options 

While triple net leasing is typically used in commercial real estate, like retail stores, office buildings, and industrial warehouses, as they are larger in size and typically require more maintenance and management than residential properties, it is possible to find some triple net lease properties that are medical facilities, offering triple net lease agreements to physicians or medical groups. Single-tenant property leased by a government agency, such as a post offices and courthouses have also been offered as Triple net lease properties. In these cases, the government agency is responsible for all property-related expenses, and the landlord would only receive rent payments.

Properties or Funds. Which is right for me? 

Investing in triple net lease properties involves purchasing individual properties and managing them, either directly or through a property manager. This type of investment requires a significant amount of capital and expertise. Investing in triple net lease funds, on the other hand, are less capital-intensive than investing in individual properties, as investors can purchase shares in the fund, and investors benefit from professional management. This potentially reduces their involvement in property management, day-to-day operations, and risk. Funds pool investors' capital to purchase multiple triple net lease properties. However, investors typically have less control over the specific properties in the fund, as the investment manager is responsible for selecting and managing the properties.

In short; whether commercial, medical, or single tenant, triple net leasing provides an opportunity for property owners to maintain cash flow and investment in commercial real estate. Please work with an investment expert to help you in understanding your options and making the right decision for you.

Neither MML Investors Services nor any of its subsidiaries, employees or agents are authorized to give legal or tax advice. Consult your own personal attorney, legal or tax counsel for advice on specific legal and tax matters.  CRN202602-4337275