BPF publishes licence for NHS to occupy commercial properties

7 May 2020

07 May 2020, London: The British Property Federation (BPF) publishes today a Licence to Occupy – a standard template that can be used by the NHS, associated organisations and any commercial property owner to coordinate and agree rent-free occupation of commercial properties.

The NHS is experiencing significant pressure on medical facilities and storage capacity, and needs additional space on a temporary basis to help combat the spread of COVID-19 and to aid future recovery. The BPF’s members own and manage commercial properties that can fulfil the NHS’ requirements and ease this pressure.

While commercial property owners were already volunteering spaces to the NHS, the NHS and any owner would still be required to prepare and agree a short-term licence for occupation. Given the speed at which the NHS needs to find additional space and set up new facilities, a standard licence template was required to expedite the process.

This Licence to Occupy will now make it easier and quicker for the NHS to work with multiple property owners simultaneously.

For any commercial property owner considering available space to donate to the NHS for short-term use on a rent-free basis, this Licence should provide a balanced and commercially acceptable template for doing so.

The Licence to Occupy and associated guidance for its use can be found on the BPF website here.

Alex Green, Assistant Director (Development & Sustainability), British Property Federation comments:

“The BPF’s members are committed to supporting the NHS, and as property owners and managers across the country, they feel well-placed to donate commercial buildings in response to the NHS’ growing demand for more space. The process of working with numerous property owners and agreeing individual licences for occupation, however, was cumbersome and so we’ve developed a Licence to Occupy as a standard template for the NHS to use with any commercial property owner.

“We are proud of our NHS and we thank our members for offering the support to develop this document, and hope this Licence makes a positive difference to the health service’s capacity and its efforts to care for patients.”