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Our client was a GP partnership, which owns a substantial freehold site in St Albans city centre that houses both their surgery and a separate retail pharmacy business.

Our client was approached by the owners of the pharmacy business (a national multi-million-pound chain) about their desire to transfer its ownership to a smaller, local chain. As the leaseholders, they were under contract with our client to run and operate the pharmacy. By requesting that the local chain take ownership of the business – and take over these obligations – they were asking our client for consent to assign the contract to this third party.

Although the national chain was known to be struggling financially, it was still a very large business – so our client’s consent was not automatic. Our healthcare team were instructed to guide the client through the “assignment consent” process, negotiate appropriate security from the incoming tenant and ensure their best interests were met.

Acting on behalf of our GP freeholder clients, our healthcare team began negotiations with the incumbent and incoming pharmacy chains. We were keen to establish a sizeable deposit from the new tenant to minimise risk to our client.

Whilst protracted due to the complex nature of such contract discussions, we supported our client through the process step-by-step and guided them towards a solution they were delighted with.

We negotiated an arrangement whereby our client was happy for the original pharmacy (the assignor) to transfer the business to the new chain (the assignee). We agreed a new leasehold contract with the incoming tenant, including a significant rental deposit to be held by our clients as security for the duration of the lease term.