UKWA launches new ‘out of the box’ model lease at Multimodal

UKWA has unveiled a new ‘out of the box’ model lease for members, developed in partnership with legal partners Weightmans and real estate advisors Savills, including explanatory notes that provide a starting point for negotiating a lease contract in 2022, something that Weightmans partner Matthew Williamson argues is needed more than ever in these changing times.

He says, “This model lease, exclusive to UKWA members, is designed to strike a balance between the modern interests of both occupiers and landlords. The current and future economic and legal challenges of those in the warehousing sector are such that anything that can enable the parties to quickly identify and deal with issues, as well as knowing what ‘reasonable’ looks like, should assist in lettings across the UK.”

Since the beginning of lockdown over two years ago the world of warehousing has become considerably more complex. Pressures including the rise of e-commerce, increased automation and the drive towards carbon net zero have changed the way warehouses operate, while massive take up, climbing demand for space and rapid growth has come to define the sector.

These changes have created a whole set of new requirements, both for occupiers and for landlords.
The new UKWA lease will provide a basis for a contract that is reasonable and fair from the point of view of both occupier and landlord. Commercial and financial drivers mean that each side has intrinsically competing interests, which is why landlords and occupiers are separately represented. However, as lawyers who routinely handle these affairs from both sides of the contractual fence, Weightmans have been able to bring to bear their considerable experience from across the divide over the many months it has taken to create this unique, comprehensive guide.

The UKWA model lease is not simply a ‘fill in the blanks and print’ form, but a complete checklist and suggested drafting of the many factors to consider when it comes to signing a lease. It is aligned with the RICS Lease Code and incorporates expert guidance from Savills around the commercial implications of the various requirements.

UKWA CEO Clare Bottle says, “We believe this exclusive form of model lease and explanatory notes will provide valuable support to our members. The UKWA Lease and notes will equip occupiers with valuable legal and commercial intelligence when negotiating their lease, allowing them to challenge clauses or requirements they see as outside of the ‘normal’. In addition, most warehouse operators have been reluctant to pass on the costs of the changes to their business over the last two years, so every penny counts and the potential savings on legal fees is an important bonus.

The model Lease and explanatory notes are not intended to be a catch-all. Contracts will necessarily vary from warehouse to warehouse and from landlord to landlord, therefore input from a solicitor will likely be required. However, a in producing this document, UKWA has taken an important step towards supporting members in navigating the new environment in which we all operate.”

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