The changing pattern of
commercial lease terms
Evidence from Birmingham, London,
Manchester and Belfast
Blair Kirkman Commercial Surveyors, London, UK, and
Lay Cheng Lim and William McCluskey
Centre for Research in Property and Planning, School of the Built Environment,
University of Ulster, Newtownabbey, UK
Purpose – This paper aims to contribute to the theory, practice and development trends in relation to
commercial property leases.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper utilises three key methodological approaches to the
research, namely, case studies, desktop literature review and questionnaire survey analysis. This
approach enables the in-depth analysis of both primary and secondary data in relation to the wider
commercial property leasing market.
Findings – The main ﬁndings from an analysis of the case study cities demonstrate clearly that
ofﬁce tenants are requiring shorter lease terms, more tenant break options and rent reviews to market
Research limitations/implications – The paper relates to the development of commercial
property leases. While the research inferences are drawn from four major cities they would nonetheless
represent a similar pattern from across the UK.
Practical implications – The ﬁndings of this paper should be of practical beneﬁt to those involved
in the drafting of commercial leases and in particular the management and leasing of commercial
Originality/value – This paper presents the results of original empirical research utilising data
drawn from several authoritative sources. The value of the work lies in the lease patterns that have
been discovered through the case studies analysis.
Keywords Property, Leasing, Ofﬁce buildings, Rents, United Kingdom
Paper type Research paper
Each investment class has different features that make it more or less attractive to
a range of investors with different requirements (Dubben and Sayce, 1991;
Hargitay and Yu, 1993; Hoseli and MacGregor, 2000). Although some wealthy
individuals are active in investment markets, the dominant investors tend to be
large national and international organisations. These include insurance companies,
pension funds, investment trusts, savings banks, building societies and property
companies (MacGregor and Nanthakumaran, 1992; Lee et al., 1996; De Wit, 1996).
They tend to be intermediaries through which most people invest in real estate,
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Received March 2005
Vol. 24 No. 1, 2006
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited