Master Lease Vs Management Contract

In the world of commercial real estate, two common terms that are often used interchangeably are “master lease” and “management contract.” While they may seem similar at first glance, each holds its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages.

A master lease is a legal agreement between a property owner and a tenant in which the tenant takes on the responsibility of leasing out the property to subtenants. Essentially, the tenant becomes a middleman between the property owner and the subtenants. This type of arrangement is common in properties such as office buildings, shopping centers, and apartment complexes.

On the other hand, a management contract is a legal agreement between a property owner and a third-party management company in which the management company takes on the responsibility of managing the property. This includes tasks such as renting out units, collecting rent, and handling maintenance and repairs.

So, how do you decide between a master lease and a management contract? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each.



1. More control over the property: With a master lease, the tenant has more control over the property and the ability to make decisions about subtenants.

2. Potential for higher profits: The tenant can potentially make more money by leasing out the property to subtenants at a higher price than they are paying to the property owner.


1. More responsibility: With more control comes more responsibility. The tenant is responsible for finding and managing subtenants, which can be time-consuming and stressful.

2. Risk of subtenant default: If a subtenant defaults on their lease, the tenant is still responsible for paying rent to the property owner.



1. Professional management: Third-party management companies have expertise in managing properties and can bring a level of professionalism that the property owner may not have.

2. Less responsibility: The property owner can step back and let the management company handle all aspects of property management.


1. Cost: Hiring a management company can be expensive and eat into profits.

2. Less control: The property owner may have less control over decision-making with a third-party management company.

In conclusion, the decision between a master lease and a management contract ultimately depends on the goals and preferences of the property owner. A master lease can provide more control and potentially higher profits but also comes with more responsibility and risk. A management contract can bring professional management but can be costly and may result in less control for the property owner.