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Scotland’s Move towards a Model Commercial Lease

Due to the success of the British Property Federation’s Model Commercial Lease (MCL) introduced in England in 2014, the Scottish Property Standardisation Group (SPSG) have recently produced a similar style lease as a drafting aid for practitioners north of the border. The SPSG’s version forms the basis of a lease for multiple occupancy buildings and includes helpful guidance notes to assist drafting.

England’s MCL was created by a mix of law firms, clients and other commercial trade groups, with the aim of creating a starting point for conveyancers that ticked all commercial and legal boxes in routine commercial lettings. The Model encapsulates descriptive yet concise clauses and definitions which satisfy current commercial expectations, for example electronic communication and energy efficiency. Wording is in plain English and covers the essential elements expected from a commercial lease.

Negotiating a lease can be a time consuming process, with most transactions experiencing several rounds of amendments by both sides. The main aim of the MCL is to reduce unnecessary delays caused by prolonged negotiation.

The Model has received a positive response from solicitors in England, acting for both Landlords and Tenants, who have welcomed the industry standard lease. Solicitors have noted that where the MCL has been used in their transactions, there has been a clear drop in amendments being made and an overall change of attitude towards lease negotiation. 

The SPSG’s initial efforts to adopt an MCL for Scottish solicitors is a welcomed tool and starting point for commercial conveyancers. The SPSG have pledged to develop other lease styles in the future and continue to work towards adopting an over MCL for Scotland. 

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