It is about time that we, as an industry, review the process of lease conveyancing. It is paramount to our industry yet seems to prolong and delay the possibility of job creation, rents for landlords and further business expansion.
As we move out of the pandemic, we have seen a huge shift in promoting new business and encouraging start-ups across the board, whether it is a new food and beverage (F&B), retail or leisure concept. There is a real drive to create bricks-and-mortar spaces, putting the value back into our high streets, which is what our industry is all about. However, this is being constantly compromised.
Leases are often written with overbearing, old-fashioned and archaic language, which has no relevance to our society and has the potential to deter new and emerging businesses, particularly those led by entrepreneurs and young people who have only experienced a slice of what this industry has to offer. It is quite ironic that we live in a digital age and expect the delivery of goods and services at the touch of a button, yet when it comes to legal processes this sense of urgency is lost and puts us back to a place where prosperity is thwarted and people are alienated, particularly young and passionate business owners who will keep our dynamic industry growing.
With delay comes a sense of apprehension, giving opportunity for either party to have second thoughts, consider better terms or go elsewhere with their business. This is not a healthy or effective position to be in, especially following two years of uncertainty and insecurity.
It is fair to say that this part of our industry needs to change. Maybe there is a digital solution to all this – we use apps for almost everything these days, so perhaps landlords and business owners could realise this opportunity if it is in their back pocket on an accessible device. I am in no way an expert on this, and my idea may not be a practical way to combat the problem, but it warrants some thought. One thing is for certain: a more streamlined approach must be adopted.
Nick Weir is joint managing partner at Shelley Sandzer