Orchard House can now implement some long-awaited improvements to the practice premises, making their working and business environment nicer for patients and staff, after GP Surveyors increased their Notional Rent figure.
Orchard House Surgery is a purpose-built surgery in Newmarket, Suffolk. They had little background knowledge about the district valuation process and so wanted to be sure that they were receiving a correct valuation for their property.
Margaret West is the Practice Manager at Orchard House Surgery. She explains; “We decided to use GP Surveyors as we felt we had nothing to lose. They only make a charge to the practice when they win a successful case.”
“Practices have three years from the date of the valuation to dispute Notional Rent”
Paul Conlan was the Surveyor to this case. He explains; “There were two main issues which we had to resolve before reaching a satisfactory outcome. The first was that the PCT originally refused to open the case and contended that the practice only had “a period of 2 weeks in which to dispute the rental value”. This is incorrect as contractually practices have three years from the date of valuation or from when the PCT issues the valuation (whichever is the later) to dispute any element of the contract (including Notional Rent).”
“As it is almost impossible for a practice to know whether their rent is fair or not, it makes sense to employ an expert company”
“We made representations to the PCT relating to contractual timescales and they then invited valuation representations supporting why it was felt that District Valuer’s (DV) figure was low. The PCT subsequently confirmed they would instruct the DV to discuss the valuation with us.”
“The second issue in this case was that once it was opened by the PCT, the DV would not deviate from original valuation and reported matters as unagreed to the PCT. The NHSLA Local Dispute Resolution Protocol was followed and completed. Unfortunately this did not lead to a resolution as the DV again refused to accept GP Surveyors representations and therefore did not deviate from the original valuation reported.”
Paul finishes;”A dispute application was made to the NHSLA and an Expert Advisor appointed through the RICS. The case was concluded when the NHSLA ratified the valuation contained in the Expert Advisors report. This valuation proposed a significant increase in funding (13%) over the figure defended by the DV and PCT at dispute.”
Margaret continues; “The increase will enable the practice to plan and implement some long awaited improvements to the practice premises making our working and business environment much nicer for patients and staff. It is important that practices are assessed fairly for Notional Rent and as it is almost impossible for a practice to know whether their rent is appropriate or not, it makes sense to employ an expert company with a good track record to undertake an assessment.”
“The increase in Notional Rent has a positive impact on the valuation of our property as a whole”
Margaret concludes; “We are now fully aware of the true valuation of our premises. The increase in Notional Rent has a positive impact on the valuation of our property as a whole. GP Surveyors acted incredibly professionally throughout the whole process. When we reached the stage that a challenge with our local PCT was on the cards, they respected our wishes to work with our PCT to resolve our differences of opinion in an amicable way. Although our case did end up going to appeal, we never felt that we were asking for something that was not justified. We were supported throughout with information and guidance as appropriate.”