Surveyors at Barker Storey Matthews (now part of Eddisons) have welcomed the publication of new
guidance by the industry’s professional body which aims to make lease negotiations more efficient
for all parties involved.

The Code for Leasing Business Premises has been published by the Royal Institution of Chartered
Surveyors (RICS) and will be effective from 01 September (2020), replacing previous guidance dating
back to 2007.

Having the designation of an official RICS Professional Statement, the new code has mandatory
elements in addition to best practice advice, whereas the previous code was purely advisory and
without the weight mandatory guidance carries for professional surveying practitioners in England
and Wales.

Barker Storey Matthews sees all parties involved in the leasing of commercial premises set to benefit
from the new code. However, in the first instance, the most obvious beneficiary will be those
parties who are yet to be represented by a professional surveyor. The code provides a template
‘Heads of Terms’ document and a list of all the issues requiring consideration when the parties are
negotiating terms for a new lease.

In a move to try and ensure parties do not walk blindly into signficant legal commitments, the code
also states that ‘a party that is not represented by an RICS member or other property professional
must be advised by the other party or its agents about the existence of the code and its
supplemental guide and must be recommended to obtain professional advice.’

With the focus on fairness ‐ for landlord and tenant alike ‐ the Code for Leasing Business Premises
has had cross professional support from the Law Society, the British Property Federation (BPF) and
the British Council for Offices whom the RICS consulted before finalising the code’s contents.

For Barker Storey Matthews, the involvement of such professional organisations and the
undertaking of a commitment to best practice by all professional advisers involved in lease
negotiations is reinforced by the new code and that is to be welcomed.

Mark Critchley, Director, Barker Storey Matthews, commented, “Lease negotiatons are detailed and
touch matters of law ‐ all of which can be very time consuming.

“Complex matters of lease negotiations cannot ‐ and should not ‐ be over simplified and the new
code, quite rightly, does not set out to dumb down the process.

“However, the overall tenor of the code, its mandatory aspects and the inclusion of industry
professional bodies in its development put fairness and efficiency at the heart of lease negotiations.
“For tenants and landlords, the new code serves to reinforce the confidence that these parties
should have when represented in negotiations by RICS qualified and accredited surveyors.”