Shaftesbury completes UK’s first digital commercial leases in partnership with proptech start-up, Least

Digital leasing from Shaftesbury

Shaftesbury has completed the first two digital end-to-end commercial leasing deals in the UK, utilising software from innovative proptech start-up, Least. Both deals related to office space in Carnaby.  The first, on Broadwick Street, took only six days, with the second, at 45 Carnaby Street, following shortly after in just fifteen days.

The last year brought a lot of change to the property market: mass adoption of technology, an explosion of fitted office spaces, the emergence of short-form flexible leases and, importantly, widespread legal support for the digital signing of leases.  Shaftesbury used Least’s new technology, which embraces the changes in the market, to deliver the first digital leasing experience for commercial property deals.

Shaftesbury’s early adoption of the Least software in these deals has set a new standard for commercial leasing, saving both time and void costs, while also providing a simplified user-friendly process for all parties.  Least can be used to negotiate the Heads of Terms on any office space, with the decision to use the platform made by Shaftesbury in conjunction with the occupier.

Isabel Thomas, Head of Offices at Shaftesbury, commented: “Shaftesbury is committed to innovation and supporting its tenants, so we are delighted to be a pioneer in adopting Least as another tool to help simplify relationships and break down barriers.  We can see the real value the software adds to the leasing process, allowing Shaftesbury to provide occupiers with a simple, user-friendly experience.  The speed with which Least allows deals to be completed is also a major benefit in the current market as it adds a real sense of certainty for all parties involved.”

The platform is supported by knowledgeable investors and an advisory group that represent some of London’s most innovative landlords.  It is not just landlords and their occupiers that benefit from using Least; agents have greater oversight of their instructions and can quickly move deals to completion.

Leon Ballard, Co-Founder of Least, added: “For anyone who knows the market, this is a problem that needed fixing.  We are excited to deliver a better way to get deals negotiated and signed quickly. It took less than a week to complete the first deal on Least and the second deal followed in quick succession.  Shaftesbury’s early adoption of the technology is market-leading, and we look forward to working with them to speed up their leasing, minimise voids and improve the experience of their occupiers.”

David Seddon, Partner of Brydell Partners, the new tenant at 45 Carnaby Street, said: “The leasing process for our new space was a breath of fresh air.  As both a tenant on this deal and a property investor by profession, we know intimately the challenges of closing leases.  We wanted to be part of Carnaby and Least enabled Shaftesbury to make us an offer within minutes of our expressing interest.  We got on, signed and can now focus on our core business in our new home.”

Shaftesbury’s piloting of Least as an industry first follows the launch of its new workspace concept, branded Assemble, in its prominent office locations in Seven Dials and Carnaby.  Created in response to the evolving market and occupier requirements, Assemble offers occupiers a selection of pre-designed interior schemes, with each village having its own choice of three distinctive styles and bespoke colour palettes, inspired by the respective local area.

Property & Development Magazine

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