Standardising commercial real estate leases

Standardising commercial real estate leases

Is the new form of Model Commercial Lease (MCL) being welcomed by the commercial property sector? Edward Benzecry, partner at CMS Cameron McKenna and member of the British Property Federation (BPF) Commercial Committee, says while not obliged to do so, a number of law firms are looking to adopt the MCL.

How did you become involved with the MCL?

The MCL Initiative originated from the BPF. I was asked to chair the Committee as a result of a paper I presented to the BPF Commercial Committee some three years ago. The paper was headed ‘Lease negotiations are torture’.

Why do we need the MCL?

At the moment we have a situation where, on investment-grade property, almost every firm of lawyers has its own standard form of lease, as do many of the large landlord institutions and property companies. They all do exactly the same thing, it is just that they each use different wording and with clauses and schedules in a different order. This means that each lease needs to be negotiated from scratch, leading to unnecessary delay and extra cost. The current system does not benefit anyone:

  • landlords have to wait for their void units to become income producing

  • tenants have to wait to use premises for the benefit of their businesses

  • lawyers are often losing money as a result of low fixed fees

What were the key issues you felt needed to be tackled and

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