Practices with NHS Property Services as Landlords
Date sent: Friday 7 November 2014
Email sent by Wessex LMCs, on Friday, 7 Nov 2014
The new Heads of Terms from NHS Property Services have been shared with us. We have taken the initiative to seek an independent opinion from a lawyer experienced in these matters on these, especially in light of the fact that there are allegations that GPs may be being misinformed that BMA blessing has been given.
Please be aware that whilst the BMA is in discussions around these – there has been no endorsement by the BMA despite what NHSPS staff may have understood. We would advise extreme caution before signing these and that you take expert legal advice. Terms such as these are for negotiation.
We are deeply concerned that these Heads of Terms are extremely one sided in favour of the Landlord. We are also concerned that these are being issued at a rigid national level. In normal practice these are viewed as extremely harsh but in the current climate we would particularly advise careful attention to the content and potential liability. We would also suggest that these terms are flying in the face of the current direction of travel which are saying that General Practice needs to be flexible and change, such as those visions set out in the Five Year Forward View. These contracts will tie GPs rigidly to fixed locations which may well stifle necessary local transformation.
This document urgently needs negotiation of the terms to be fair and practical. There are none of the usual safeguards in place and parts of it are directly contradictory. These terms would currently tie in GPs to 15 year leases from which they cannot exit under any circumstance but from which they can be ejected on a 3 month notice period.
If signed these would be legally binding.
I have put the points below and attached for your reference the Heads of Terms document to which they refer.
6. Practices need to be clear on the chosen VAT position of NHSPS which would bind them to paying VAT and insurance premiums and whether they can recover this
10. Indicates onerous consent process for any alterations - inconsistent with point 17
11.1 15 years - A long lease time for what in the commercial world would be viewed as a ‘small concern’ especially when coupled with point 11.2, around 5 years would be more in line with size of the business
11.2 No tenant break clause – this is very disadvantageous especially in the current climate. Some areas have 6 month break clauses as the norm.
11.4 This means that the tenant has no right to renew as the tenant usually would under the Landlord and Tenant Act – they have specifically excluded this contract from this Act
13 There is no mention here about car parking spaces being available
15. This would usually state that an outgoing doctor when leaving will not to required to do so under an authorised guarantee agreement – this would be a usual safeguard that is missing. This means that an outgoing doctor would remain liable.
The part about the Landlord licensee is extremely unusual – this essentially states that the Landlord can put anyone in unused space but that this other tenant would not contribute towards the rent or costs.
16. Full repairing lease
17. States they can make alterations without permission in direct contrast to point 10 which would be costly and prohibitive.
19. This would usually state ‘normal’ or ‘reasonable’ excess to afford some protection to the Tenant
20. Especially given how onerous and binding the heads of terms are on the tenant 3 months’ notice in the opposite direction is very poor
Wessex Local Medical Committees Ltd
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