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Lawyers, Landlords, and Leases

I thought it would be an idea to share some opinions on the issues encountered over the years regarding selling dental practices or negotiating leases with landlords who are not necessarily the principal dentist.

I can’t believe how many deals have been soured over the years by one of the parties using a solicitor not familiar with the Business Sale Contracts

It seems obvious, doesn’t it? Time and time again, clients engage lawyers who have little to no experience in the areas of law for which they require their services. General practitioners are good for general legal work.

Choose the right man or woman for the job. Still, they often lack expertise in specialised, complex and/or obscure areas of law. It is made even more difficult when trusts, superfunds, multiple partners, or other weird ownerships are involved.

Of late, I have had several sales contracts pushed out past four months due to the lawyers, landlords, and, in some cases, clients not communicating and, in one case, over twelve months because the buyer had no idea and couldn’t accept his lawyer’s advice regarding the sale process in general.

It is truly amazing how many lawyers will take on a job they cannot handle for no other reason than it’s not within their scope of training. Yet, they will try to bumble their way through at the client’s expense, which causes much animosity and frustration, not to mention a blowout in costs.

In ninety-eight per cent of cases negotiating lease terms with the other side or a third lawyer seems to become the major roadblock regardless of the landlord. If that’s not bad enough, enter a service facility contract if the vendor and other contractors stay on, including dealing with the staff and their entitlements, employing them into a new entity, and bearing in mind the lender needs the lease on their terms as well.

In nearly every dental practice sale, there will be three lawyers involved and, in some cases, four if you include some lenders who use in-house or contract solicitors

Dental practice sales, for the better part, are unique in ownership structure and consideration for how associate dentists, staff and contractors, are employed and remunerated, let alone each state in Australia has its own quirks, local and government fees and charges that need to be considered, making it a minefield for the uninitiated.

There are only a hand full of solicitors throughout Australia, in my experience, that I have found capable of treading the hot coals without burning their feet; not to say others are not capable or are out there, but if you want the job done, it’s best to seek out the experts in our field which ultimately will save you time money and heartache.

If you need this type of advice, send me an email at jan@practicelink.com.au

 

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