Code for leasing business premises

Published February 2020
Effective from 1 September 2020
Reissued September 2023

This RICS professional standard is the result of pan-industry discussion between representatives of landlords, tenants and other trade bodies.

The objective is to improve the quality and fairness of negotiations on lease terms and to promote the issue of comprehensive heads of terms that should make the legal drafting process more efficient. The standard and code do not prescribe the outcome, but seek to make it fair and balanced by identifying the terms that are usually important and encouraging both parties to obtain advice from property professionals. This enables negotiations to proceed properly so that each party can make an informed decision about whether to proceed on the terms that they negotiate.

The lease code and the accompanying template heads of terms and checklist should be used as a reminder for negotiations before the grant of a new lease and at the time of any lease renewal. They should assist RICS members in ensuring that landlords, tenants and guarantors who they are advising have a clear understanding of the commitments that they are entering into.

The professional standard applies to lettings of premises in England and Wales to tenants who will carry on trade, professional or other business activities in them, but it does not apply to agricultural lettings, premises that will only be used for housing plant and equipment (such as electricity transformers or telecoms) or advertising media (such as hoardings), premises that are intended to be wholly sublet by the tenant, or to premises being let for a period of not more than six months.

This document was reissued in September 2023 as a professional standard. It had previously been published in February 2020 as a professional statement. No material changes have been made to the document.