Legal ruling enables GPs to up rent valuations

A large primary care property company has won a landmark verdict that is expected to allow GPs who own their own premises to increase their notional rent valuations.

The system used by the NHS to settle disputed valuations has been judged in a High Court judicial review to be subject to apparent bias.

Mr Justice McCombe ruled that the advisory process followed by the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) does not look sufficiently independent.

He said the Valuation Office, which advises the NHSLA, is too close to the district valuer, who advises the PCT on a current market rent, for justice ‘to be seen to be done’.

The NHSLA is now establishing a new process for settling disputed rent valuations.

Primary Health Properties (PHP), one of the UK’s largest GP premises providers with a £356m portfolio of 113 medical centres, sought the review over the rent for the Hereward Group Practice, Bourne in Lincolnshire.

‘If the judgment is properly acted upon by the NHSLA a fairer, more robust and more transparent system for reviewing current market rent will be implemented,’ PHP said.

Harry Hyman, PHP managing director, said the judgment will give GPs receiving notional rent reimbursement the chance to claim a higher rent.

‘We expect an independent appeal process to add firmness and make it more likely that current market rents will be increased,’ he said.

Any GP paying a landlord an actual rent higher than the current market rent assessed by the district valuer could also gain.

  • Read this week’s GP dated 1 May for the full version of this story.

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