Premises in a practice sale

Getting ahead when marketing a practice for sale

08 December, 2023 / professional-focus
 Nina Sinclair  

When a decision has been made to sell your dental practice, it is worthwhile spending some time to
see what property documentation you have, and which you may require to obtain, as part of the sale process.

Having the following documents readily available prior to marketing the practice for sale will help to avoid any delays during the legal process. It will provide you with a head start. 

In nearly all cases (and especially if the purchaser is taking lending), an Energy Performance Certificate will be insisted upon. It is now a legal requirement for a Certificate to be provided by the seller of a commercial property, which includes dental practices. 

By ensuring that you have all the correct documentation in place at an early stage, the sale process should go more smoothly

An Energy Performance Certificate provides the property with an energy efficiency rating, and it may also provide recommendations on how the energy efficiency of the property could be improved. The Certificate can be obtained reasonably easily and quickly, and they are not hugely expensive. If you purchased your practice during or after 2008, you may have obtained a Certificate from the seller. Certificates are valid for 10 years, and a previous Certificate can be used by you for your sale if still in date.

It is also fairly likely that you will be asked to produce an Asbestos Report. Since 2006, all commercial premises should have an Asbestos Report. In practice, we do find that not a lot of sellers are aware of this obligation, and it can lead to an Asbestos Report having to be obtained during the sale process.  It would be best practice to have an Asbestos Report ready and available at the beginning of the sale process. 

The Solicitor acting for a purchaser will require to carry out a review of all Local Authority consents which have been obtained for any alterations to the property. They will primarily focus on any documentation relating to alterations which have been carried out in the last 10 years. They will also want to see that planning consent is in place for the premises to be used as a dental practice.

If any are missing, copies can usually be obtained from the Local Authority. Lack of appropriate Planning or Completion Certificates can cause considerable delays during the sale process, therefore spending some time initially collating the various consents could save you a lot of heartache in the long run.

Lastly, you should ascertain where your Title Deeds are located. Most Title Deeds are now readily available online from Registers Direct for a small cost, however, if you purchased the property some time
ago, it is possible that your property could still be registered in the older Register of Sasines.

In that case, your Title Deeds would not readily be available online and therefore a search for the paper copies should be carried out. These may be held by your bank if they ever held a security over the property.

By ensuring that you have all the correct documentation in place at an early stage, the sale process should go more smoothly. Even if there are gaps in documentation, or issues which need to be addressed, dealing with them before your practice is being marketed will mean that there will be much less time pressure on you.

Conversely, leaving the property matters until the last minute has the potential to cause delays and could possibly derail your sale.

Nina Sinclair, Associate, Thorntons Law LLP
E: / DD: 01382 346288 / W:

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