What is a Direct Lease? Meaning, Types, Benefits, 7 Facts

A direct finance lease is a financing arrangement in which the lessor purchases assets and leases them to its clients in order to generate income from the ensuing interest payments. Finance institutions, such as equipment leasing firms, typically offer direct financing leases.

What is a Direct Lease?

A direct lease is a kind of finance in which the lessor purchases the property and leases it to the lessee directly. In such situations, the owner of the property has no intention of ever using it for its intended purpose. Rather, it is only a method of investment and future profit-making.

What is a Direct Lease?

When two conditions are met, a direct lease is permissible. The first criteria that must be satisfied is the assurance of minimum lease payments.

The second criteria is that there must be no significant uncertainty regarding the potential amount of unreimbursable expenses. In other words, both parties must be notified of any lease-related expenses in advance.

How Direct Leasing Works

Under direct leasing, the lessor acknowledges both the gross investment and the associated amount of unearned revenue. Gross investment in the lease is computed as follows:

Total lease payments less cost of execution plus unguaranteed residual value to the advantage of the lessor.

The difference between the gross investment and the carrying amount (book value of the asset) of the lease is the unearned income. Unearned revenue is reported as earnings during the lease duration. The lessor can realize the unearned revenue using the interest technique.

The accounting concept underlying direct leasing acknowledges losses but not benefits. The lessor will evaluate the estimated worth of the leased property at least once every year.

If the residual value has decreased and the reduction appears irreversible, the lessor will record a loss for the current period. Alternatively, if the residual value has grown, the gain is not recognized.

What is a Direct Lease?

Typically, banks and other lending organizations, such as equipment leasing firms, offer direct financing leases.

Direct Lease vs Sale and Lease Back

Typically, a sale-and-leaseback deal happens when the lessee has already bought a property but need more financing to sustain operating cash flows. In this scenario, the lessee sells the property to the lessor and then leases it back from the lessor for a monthly fee.

This frees up capital for the lessee to make other investments or control operating expenditures. It may be difficult to estimate the depreciation on some types of equipment, and a sustainable secondary market for the sale of such assets may not always exist.

In contrast, direct sale refers to the circumstance where the lessor leases the property directly to the lessee. The lessor either already own the property or purchases it from the maker.

Types of Direct Lease Financing

True Tax Financing

In this sort of direct lease, the lessor is the legal owner of the leased equipment and is eligible for tax benefits via depreciation and interest expenditure. As a cost of doing business, the lessee makes monthly payments.

Upon expiration of the lease, the lessee has the choice of purchasing the equipment for its fair market value, renewing the lease at a fair market value rental rate, or returning the equipment without further obligation. Capital lease finance is another name for this.

What is a Direct Lease?

Operating Lease Financing

In this sort of lease, the lease period is less than the usable economic life of the asset.

To qualify as an operational lease, the net present value of the rental payments throughout the lease term must be less than 90 percent of the equipment’s total cost.

The lessor claims the asset’s depreciation and the lessee’s monthly payments as business expenses.

Master Lease Financing

This sort of lease features a front-loaded agreement with terms allowing the lessee to make equipment purchase deposits at various stages. It often entails a predetermined credit line and is negotiated in advance.

Who Provides a Direct Lease?

The majority of direct leases are given by equipment leasing firms. Typically, an equipment leasing firm is an NBFC (Non-Banking Financial Company) whose primary business is leasing or financing equipment leases.

What is a Direct Lease?

Under specific criteria, any nonbanking financial firm can receive a license to begin equipment leasing. In the event of a financing lease agreement, equipment leasing businesses are prohibited from engaging in real estate trading, holding, and dealing, and the lease term cannot be less than three years. With the exception of IT and computer equipment, this is true.

Accounting for a Direct Financing Lease

In accordance with this arrangement, the lessor acknowledges the gross investment in the lease and the corresponding amount of unearned revenue. Gross investment in the lease is computed as follows:

Sum of minimum lease payments, less executory cost component, plus residual value accruing to the lessor that is not guaranteed.

The amount of unearned income is equal to the difference between the gross investment and the carrying amount of the lease.

Unearned revenue is reported as earnings during the lease duration. The lessor employs the interest technique to recognize the amount of unearned income that generates a steady rate of return over the duration of the lease.

The lessor evaluates the anticipated residual value of the leased property at least once a year. If the residual value has decreased and the reduction is not transitory, the loss should be recorded in the current period. If the residual value has grown, no gain should be recognized.

Direct Lease vs Sublease Space

Direct lease space and sublease space are the two most prevalent forms of space available for lease on the market. The assumption that direct lease space is more expensive and more stable than sublease space, which is less expensive but of shorter duration, may not reflect the facts.

Having an expert on your side to assist you grasp the distinctions between the two types of space might enhance the probability that your organization will discover the optimal solution.

Direct Lease Space

Traditional space is known as direct lease space since it is leased directly from the building’s owner. In most marketplaces, the majority of available spaces are direct space.

What is a Direct Lease?

Since you and the owner are the sole parties to the lease, you may negotiate conditions that are agreeable to both of you. This implies that you may negotiate a rental price and lease period that is suitable for both parties, and that you may be eligible for incentives, such as rent abatements and tenant improvement allowances.

Additionally, you may be able to negotiate renewal options that allow you to extend your lease on predetermined conditions. In other words, you are free to negotiate for whatever you like.

Sublease Space

Sublease space becomes available when an existing direct tenant no longer desires or requires the leased office or other space. To help repay the expense, they look for someone else to use the facility. The subtenant signs a sublease and pays the original tenant, who uses the money to pay the landlord for the original lease.

Being a subtenant feels similar to being a regular tenant while you’re in the space, with one major exception. Everything you are permitted to do is controlled by the original lease, thus you cannot negotiate a lease that meets your demands.

Therefore, if there are just 18 months remaining on the original lease, you can theoretically only stay for up to 18 months. Also, the previous tenant presumably received all of the tenant improvement funds, so if you wish to make modifications to the space, you cannot rely on the landlord for assistance.

Choosing the Right Space for Your Business

If you desire a conventional rental experience, direct space is likely the best option. You have long-term ownership over the space, and since most landlords pay to the expense of creating your area, you also have the ability to modify it. In addition, many structures, particularly freshly completed ones, are only offered on the direct market.

What is a Direct Lease?

In contrast, sublease space offers two important benefits in every market. Typically, taking up the balance of a lease allows you to commit to the space for a shorter duration. In addition, because the original renter is normally strongly driven to find someone to pay SOME rent, you can typically save money compared to direct space.

Keep in mind that once you become a subtenant, there is no reason why you cannot continue to use the space by signing a direct lease with the landlord after the original lease ends. In conclusion, sublet space may be the sole method to enter a complete building or submarket.

What’s the right type of space for your business?

As you’ve already guessed, it relies on a variety of circumstances. Focus on where you wish to be, how much you wish to spend, and how long you wish to stay.

After defining these components of your tenancy, your tenant representative may explore the market for the direct or sublease space that meets your business’s requirements.


A direct lease is a commercial agreement between a lessor and a lessee in which the lessor rents certain property (often equipment) to the lessee.

There are two distinct forms of direct leasing contracts. The first type of arrangement is bipartite, in which the lessor already owns the property and leases it directly to the lessee.

The second kind of agreement is a tripartite arrangement in which the lessor, often a bank or lending institution, purchases the asset from a third party (typically the manufacturer) and then leases it to the lessee.


Direct lease. Contract in which a lessor purchases new equipment from the manufacturer and leases it to the lessee.
The three most common types of leases are gross leases, net leases, and modified gross leases.
  • The Gross Lease. The gross lease tends to favor the tenant. …
  • The Net Lease. The net lease, however, tends to favor the landlord. …
  • The Modified Gross Lease. …
  • Find the Lease for Your Business.
There can be two types of direct lease: Bipartite Lease and the Tripartite Lease.
A direct financing lease is a financing arrangement in which the lessor acquires assets and leases them to its customers, with the intent of generating revenue from the resulting interest payments. A direct financing lease is usually offered by financing institutions, such as equipment leasing companies.
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