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Offering your premises as a vaccination centre and the risks involved

Posted: 29/01/2021

The Government recently announced a plan to offer Covid vaccinations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Aside from supplying the vaccine, the NHS also needs to set up a network of vaccination centres – perhaps as many as 2,700 across the country. Whilst some of these will undoubtedly be hospital based, a significant proportion will not. Asda, for example, became the first supermarket to operate a vaccination centre, starting from 25 January.

In May 2020 the British Property Federation issued a standard template licence for the NHS to occupy commercial premises. At the time the NHS was experiencing pressure on medical and storage facilities. The intention behind the template was to give owners of commercial properties a tool to provide unutilised commercial spaces quickly and efficiently to the NHS. That need remains, but there is now the added dimension of the roll out of vaccination centres.

The licence is intended to offer balanced and commercially appropriate terms that allow landowners to donate spaces on a short-term basis. The template assumes a rent-free occupation, and includes:

  • provisions, if appropriate, for the occupier to pay for any outgoings and service charge;
  • incorporation where necessary of a schedule of conditions;
  • consent, if relevant, to specified works to be carried out by the occupier;
  • specific requirements concerning the disposal of clinical/medical waste;
  • specific requirements, where relevant, concerning cleaning and disinfecting the property at the end of the licence; and
  • confidentiality of the terms of the licence and limits on disclosure/public announcements – in the case of vaccination centres these terms will be adjusted as appropriate.

The licence can be tailored to apply to either an entire building or a part, such as an empty unit within a shopping centre.

When issuing a licence, a landlord needs to keep in mind certain considerations, such as:

  • whether you need to check with your buildings insurer before entering into any agreement;
  • whether there are there any restrictions (planning or otherwise) against the use proposed;
  • any licence should be for a maximum of six months – if longer periods are contemplated then a lease should be the option; and
  • careful drafting is required to ensure there is no risk of a tenancy arising if that is not the intention – simply calling an agreement a licence is no guarantee that it is, in fact, a licence.

If you are unsure whether any of these considerations apply to you then get in touch with our team.

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Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 419867.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP