The Code on Commercial Leases, the Lease Book, the Clearlet lease, the Meanwhile lease, the Law Society lease: these are some of the attempts to provide a consensual approach to lease negotiation.  The latest entrant is the Model Commercial Lease from a working party set up at the behest of the British Property Federation.

The general tenor of the Model Commercial Lease is the production at the outset of a more balanced document than you usually encounter with the first draft from the landlord’s solicitors.  The hope is this occasions a reduction in time and costs thereby allowing the parties to concentrate on key issues.  You can find an example of this approach in the tenant’s indemnity in favour of the landlord; it comes with an obligation on the landlord to mitigate its loss. 

The Model Commercial Lease has a range of leases for retail, industrial and offices together with management licences, a rent deposit deed and some bolt on clauses.  They are designed for use in an institutionally acceptable letting.  So the leases are not short; the lease of part of an office building runs to 55 pages.

Documents are downloadable from the website.  Terms of use state the authors accept no liability to the user; only to be expected of a free service.  However, this is offset by flexibility of use.  Unlike with the CPSEs there is no requirement for the user to acknowledge the source of the document when using it in practice; no restrictions on altering or adding to the text or lifting clauses for use in your own precedents.  So you can download a document and put your firm’s logo on the front.

I welcome this innovation and hope it succeeds in its objective.