RICS Scotland has launched a new small business retail lease aimed at new and independent retailers in order to stimulate the letting of vacant high street space.

The lease, developed by RICS and supported by the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) and Scottish Property Federation (SPF), has been adapted for Scotland by Ian MacNiven, Maclay Murray & Spens LLP. It has been devised to simplify the often complex and time-consuming processes associated with commercial property leases. The new, freely available contract will enable quicker occupation of retail premises by small and medium sized enterprises (SME), helping to support the independent retail sector and stimulate the Scottish high street.

By simplifying the leasing process for landlords and small business tenants, we hope to support small businesses in Scotland and provide a much needed boost to the high street in a time of decline.
Sarah Speirs, Director, RICS Scotland
It's great to be launching the small business lease. The template lease will help the successful retailers of tomorrow take up their places in town centres across the country.The high street is a much-loved institution but it can be a tough place to trade, with property costs a significant challenge for all. Negotiating the complicated and costly process of getting the first lease for a shop is a sizeable hurdle which the lease removes. Shockingly, around 1 in 10 retail premises are currently standing vacant. As well as assisting individual retailers this new lease will make it quicker and easier to get those empty units back into use, preventing them acting as a drag on the performance of an entire area.
David Martin, Head of Policy, Scottish Retail Consortium

The lease takes the form of an easy-to-use eight page proforma, providing the tenant with fixed property costs and a clear picture of the responsibilities they are signing up to. Intended for leases of up to five years, it is a standalone short-term contract with no rent review. It offers entirely flexible terms for occupiers, including break clauses. Landlords will benefit from rental income on a previously unoccupied space and re-establish its viability in the market place.  For both parties the costs of a long lease negotiation process are significantly reduced.

We welcome this RICS SME retail lease as a clear, concise and accessible lease aimed at high street occupation.  It is an excellent guide and starting point for landlords and tenants of commercial premises, with accompanying support for professional advisers who play such a key role in getting the right deal for the tenant and landlord.
David Melhuish, Director, Scottish Property Federation

To ensure the lease is understood and used correctly An Introduction for Professional Advisors, including occupiers, surveyors, lawyers and landlords, will be published alongside the lease.

This article was originally can be published on the RICS website, which can be found here.

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