The reports also serve as a useful reminder to consider other obligations academies have in relation to their sites.
The transfer of responsibility for managing the school site usually takes place on conversion to academy status. Some key considerations to be aware of include:-
These obligations are enforceable against an academy trust when the lease is initially completed or freehold title to the site transferred to it, initially on conversion. The obligations will also pass to an incoming academy trust when an existing lease is assigned or freehold subsequently transferred (for example on a re-brokerage).
It is therefore important for academies to carry out sufficient property due diligence to establish the risks of taking on a site before committing to do so.
A thorough due diligence exercise will help to identify any repair issues (for example any repair issue which has occurred since the date of the lease but which has not been remedied and likely future issues) and any statutory compliance issues (for example concerning the management of asbestos or fire/gas safety) as well as other pertinent information on the site.
This information can be then be used to negotiate a solution which can then be included in the transaction documents, to help minimise exposure to risk and cost liability.
We have developed specific tools (such as property specific questionnaires) to assist in legal due diligence on property matters, and have significant experience of negotiating solutions to particular issues.