The launch of a new family of leases and related documents today heralds faster and cheaper negotiation of commercial leases, benefiting both landlords and tenants. The Model Commercial Lease (MCL) is written in modern language, comes in a number of versions to suit the premises being let and is available free to everyone. The hope is that before long the MCL will become a familiar starting point for the majority of commercial leasing transactions in England and Wales.
The MCL was produced by a working group of property lawyers and landlord representatives set up three years ago by the British Property Federation’s Commercial Committee to review the commercial leasing process. The group consulted informally with most of the major law firms, and consulted more formally with a number of BPF members.
Different versions of MCL leases are available to suit different types of commercial buildings, such as offices, shops, shopping centre units and industrial/logistics units. Other documents are also available, including a rent deposit deed and typical licences.
The MCL is intended to avoid much of the unnecessary negotiation on most routine letting transactions by representing a fair starting point for both parties, and in many cases a fair end point as well. The aim has been to remove the “ritual dance” at the start of a transaction, freeing up the parties to discuss the issues that are specific to their deal and those issues that actually matter to them.
Edward Benzecry, a partner at law firm CMS Cameron McKenna, who led the working group, said
“Virtually every law firm has its own form of lease. They all say much the same thing but using different words in a different order. It makes negotiation tedious, costly and time-consuming, with little practical benefit to either party. The MCL is designed to introduce at least a degree of standardisation. It has been achieved with banking and construction documents; surely we can do the same with leases as well.”
The Model Commercial Lease can be downloaded from www.modelcommerciallease.co.uk.