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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 26069
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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Background: My father retired as senior partner of a GP

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Background:
My father retired as senior partner of a GP practice (in Northolt) about 2 years ago.
Since then, the surgery premises (freehold owned by my father) has been rented to the remaining GP for £1,200 a month without any lease agreement being put in place.
The rent is reimbursed to this GP by NHS England.
My father asked the GP (via telephone and email) to leave the premises at the end of last year (so that the property could be sold) but he has been stalling with a string of excuses.
GP's are technically self-employed, contracted by the NHS to provide patient services.
This is an unusual situation as normally the GP remaining would buy the property from the retiring GP. This did not happen in this case.
Question:
Under these circumstances, what are my father's legal rights to take back the property as soon as possible so that it can be sold for residential use? How quickly can this be realistically achieved? He doesn't want to get involved in any protracted legal dispute however.

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

From what you say am I right to understand that your father has been renting to them without a lease other than in a situation where he has been negotiating a lease with the partners? i.e. he has not made any moves to put a lease in place during this period?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Thanks for looking into this. No, he has never tried to put a lease in place as it didn't occur to him as being important. The GP is his ex-partner in the practice and he's been receiving £1,200 per month from the tenant GP.

Thank you for the above. Unfortunately, based upon what you say, your father may have fallen into a common trap and created inadvertently and implied periodic tenancy with protection under part two of the landlord and tenant act which gives the tenant security of tenure in that they have a right to renew the lease on commercial terms.

In order to bring the tenancy to an end, your father would need to sell something called a section 25 notice which is a formal statutory notice notifying the tenants that they are required to move out in six months or more. Your father can only server section 25 notice however if you can show that he has a statutory ground to do so if a protected tenancy exists. The grounds are as follows:

  • Premises are in disrepair

  • Arrears of rent

  • Other breaches of covenant

  • Suitable alternative accommodation

  • Tenancy was created by a sub-letting

  • Landlord's intention to redevelop

  • Landlord's intention to occupy

based upon what you say, your father may have grounds for seeking possession of the premises on the grounds that he intends to redevelop the same however this ground only covers redevelopments which involve an element of substantial demolition. Mere conversion works are not covered. It is not intending to substantially demolish the premises in order to build residential property, he will need to attempt to rely upon one of the other conditions such as disrepair,, or that he is willing to secure alternative accommodation for the partnership.

Before serving notice, your father would do well to consider contacting a local solicitor to act for him. It may be possible to avoid an implied secure tenancy but based upon what you say, I think the chances of that are likely to be slim. Failing that, there is nothing preventing your father informally negotiating with the GP partners or failing which, if the rent is not a commercial rent, your father could look to increase the rent to a commercial level which may encourage the partnership to leave voluntarily if it becomes unaffordable.

Does the above answer all your questions? If it does, I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click a rating for my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me though

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Hi Joshua, many thanks for your reply and sorry for the delayed reposnse. Very useful and exactly what I needed at this stage. I have a follow-up query. You state above:'...implied periodic tenancy with protection under part two of the landlord and tenant act which gives the tenant security of tenure in that they have a right to RENEW the lease on commercial terms...'.However if there was never any lease in place, how can the GP have a right to RENEW, or are you saying that my father's actions have resulted in a deemed lease being created (based on rent being paid to him for 2 years)?Regards

You are exactly right. The difficulty your father has is that if he accepts rent from a person who occupies premises for business ourposes, an implied tenancy arises. There are ways to defend against this but they tend to revolve around showing that either a) they do not have exclusive occupation of the premises or b) that your father and the tenants were genuinely negotiating for a lease during the period. If you can show either of these things he may have a defence to the implied tenancy; if not unless he can amicably negotiate with the partnership, the position will be as above and he may wish to retain a local commercial property solicitor to maximise his chances of playing his best hand as there are various tactics that can be employed sometimes to leverage his position.

Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help you with any further?

Joshua and other UK Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
That's fine. Thanks for clarifying. No more questions. :)

A pleasure. Do come back to me if I can be of any further assistance.