Since 22 April 2014, parties to uncontested business lease renewals under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 have not been required to file costs budgets - to the relief of most practitioners. Nevertheless, the time spent on compliance with the court directions can move the focus away from the negotiations on the lease terms. Referring cases to PACT could still be a real advantage to parties who wish to limit the costs of renewing the lease, particularly where the new term may be no more than five years. Other factors to consider will be for the parties to agree to extend the deadline for the making of the court application but the risk normally falls on the tenant to protect its right to a new tenancy if agreement on the terms cannot be reached.
A landlord often has the upper hand and can link any extension to progress on the lease negotiations. If, once the new terms are agreed, the parties do refer the determination of the rent to PACT, then it may be better to leave the appointment of the arbitrator to the RICS and avoid wasting time over whom to appoint and failing to reach an agreement.