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Minimum Lease Payment


The minimum lease payment is the lowest amount that a lessee is required to pay over the lease term to the lessor. It includes any guaranteed residual value, the price of any bargain purchase option, and any penalty for failure to renew or extend the lease. These payments exclude any contingent rentals, which are additional costs that may occur under certain conditions.


The phonetic spelling of “Minimum Lease Payment” is “min-uh-muhm lees pey-muhnt”.

Key Takeaways


  1. Definition: Minimum lease payment refers to the lowest amount that a lessee is expected to pay over the lease term to the lessor. It is usually stated in the lease agreement and should be paid at specified intervals as agreed between both parties.
  2. Components: The minimum lease payment may include the basic rent payment, any guaranteed residual value, and any penalties for failure to renew or extend the lease. Some lease agreements may include a provision for contingent rent – additional rent that is only due depending on the occurrence of a future event, such as a percentage of sales – but this is not included in minimum lease payments.
  3. Importance: Understanding the minimum lease payment is critical for both lessees and lessors as it impacts the financial statements, particularly in relation to the recognition of assets and liabilities. In accounting for leases, the minimum lease payment forms the basis for classifying leases and recognizing lease payments over the lease term.


The Minimum Lease Payment is an important financial term in business because it represents the least amount of money that a lessee is required to pay over a lease term to the lessor. Its forecast helps businesses to manage their budget and cash flow effectively. This term is not only important for financial planning, but it’s also used in calculating the present value of the lease and determining whether it should be classified as a finance lease or operating lease under accounting standards. Consequently, it impacts the lessee’s financial statements since it may affect both income statement and balance sheet based on the lease classification.


Minimum lease payment is an essential concept in financial and business operations, particularly in dealings involving lease agreements. Essentially, it represents the lowest amount that a lessee is expected to pay over a given lease term to the lessor. This predictable cash flow is crucial for lessors as it offers financial stability, and it forms part of the basis upon which they decide to lease out their property, equipment, or any other types of assets. The computation of the minimum lease payment often includes factors such as regular lease payments, any residual value guarantees provided by the lessee, and possible penalty fees for early lease termination.The application of the minimum lease payment extends beyond simply providing a fixed income for the lessor. For the lessee, understanding the minimum lease payment is fundamental for budgeting and financial planning, allowing them to accurately forecast their future expenses. Additionally, in the realm of financial reporting and accounting, minimum lease payments play a significant role in determining the present value of the leased asset, which can influence balance sheet figures, profit and loss accounts, and key financial ratios. Therefore, both parties must keenly understand this term to ensure accurate financial projections, prudent decision-making, and ultimately, financial success.


1. **Commercial Property Lease**: A small business owner leasing a retail store in a shopping center has a contract stating that they must pay a minimum of $2000 per month as rent regardless of their earnings. This is the minimum lease payment they are required to pay to the property owner or landlord.2. **Vehicle Leasing**: A car dealership offers lease deals where customers can drive a brand new car at a fixed lease payment per month. For example, a person leases a car at a minimum lease payment of $300 per month for three years. Even if the car depreciates in value, the monthly payment remains the same as per the lease agreement.3. **Equipment Lease**: A restaurant owner leases a new oven for their establishment, and as per the lease agreement the minimum lease payment is $500 per month for a period of five years. Regardless of how much the restaurant owner uses the oven or the income generated, they are still obliged to make this lease payment each month to the leaseholder.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a minimum lease payment?

Minimum lease payments are the lowest amount that has to be paid over the course of the lease period. They may include payments for rental, maintenance, taxes and any other additional payments agreed upon in the lease contract.

How is minimum lease payment calculated?

Each lease agreement is unique, but generally, the minimum lease payment is calculated as the present value of all future lease payments, over the least term of a lease.

What is included in the minimum lease payment?

The minimum lease payment typically includes base rent costs, any structured increases in rent over the lease term, costs directly related to the leased asset like insurance, taxes, and maintenance, and any guaranteed residual values or penalties for terminating the lease.

Who sets the minimum lease payment?

The minimum lease payment is typically set by the lessor (the owner of the asset being leased), based on the cost of the asset, its depreciation, the term of the lease, and market interest rates.

How does the minimum lease payment affect a company’s financial statements?

Minimum lease payments are considered a liability, they are therefore recorded as a debit to the relevant asset account and a credit to the lease liability account on the balance sheet. On the income statement, lease payments are reported as a lease expense.

What is the importance of minimum lease payment terms in a leased contract?

The terms surrounding the minimum lease payment ensure that the lessor gets a guaranteed return on their asset. For the lessee, it helps manage their expectations about how much they must budget for the leased asset over its lease period.

Is there a standard minimum lease payment amount set for all lease contracts?

No, there is no standard minimum lease payment. It can vary based on multiple factors like the value of the asset, its expected depreciation, the lease term, and prevailing market rates.

Is the minimal lease payment ever negotiable?

In many cases, the terms of a lease, including the minimum lease payment, can be negotiated prior to signing the lease agreement. However, it’s always at the discretion of the lessor, and it may be influenced by the creditworthiness and negotiating skills of the lessee.

Related Finance Terms

  • Lease Term: The period for which a lease is written. The lease term is the period during which the lessee has a right to use the property at the agreed upon payment.
  • Lease Agreement: A contract between two parties where one party agrees to rent property owned by another party.
  • Residual Value: The estimated value of an asset at the end of its lease.
  • Depreciation: The monetary value that an asset loses over time due to wear, tear, and obsolescence.
  • Capital Lease: A lease agreement in which the lessee assumes almost all the risk and rewards of ownership of the asset leased.

Sources for More Information

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