Leap of faith on commissioning
There may be occasions when a GP wants to sublet part of his or her surgery premises, to offload spare space for example, or to provide additional facilities for patients such as podiatry or homoeopathy.
As a rule the surgery lease will not allow sharing with someone outside the practice. But the lease usually allows underletting if the landlord's consent is obtained.
Your surgery lease will give the conditions under which underletting is permitted. The following are the normal criteria:
·The finances of the proposed undertenant. The landlord will want to see the usual references in the same way he would for a lease assignment. The financial stability of the undertenant is still in the interests of both the tenant and the landlord.
·The ability of the undertenant to meet certain conditions. The landlord is entitled to grant his consent subject to certain conditions. If the undertenant has no proven track record, or if his references are not strong enough, the landlord could ask for an additional guarantee or a rent deposit.
·Rent. The landlord will not usually allow the underlease rent to be less than that of the lease. As the undertenant will usually be protected, the landlord will not want to be stuck with a protected undertenant who has managed to get a reduced rent.
·The underlease. The terms of the underlease are either spelled out in the lease or are given in a separate description.
So what do the courts require of a landlord when it comes to granting or refusing consent for an undertenant?
As a general rule, they will require the landlord to act reasonably. However, if the lease conditions are clear, the courts will not interfere, even if the imposition of the terms appears unreasonable in a given set of circumstances. This is because clear lease terms form a contract between the parties, and their imposition cannot therefore be unreasonable from a judicial point of view.
The time to avoid any sort of difficulty in this area is when the lease is first granted or renewed so these problems can be avoided by negotiation through lawyers.