Buy, sell or transfer a registered business

Page last updated: 28 March 2024

You must tell us if you plan to:

  • buy or transfer in a service from a provider registered with CQC

  • sell or transfer all or part of a service to a new or existing provider

This is known as a sale and transfer. It allows the continued delivery of services at an existing and active location.

During a sale and transfer regulated activities must continue to be delivered to the public.

Who is involved in a sale and transfer

A sale and transfer of regulated activities involves an ‘outgoing’ and ‘incoming’ provider:

  • Outgoing provider: This is a provider or legal entity currently registered with us. They are looking to stop providing regulated activities at one or more locations.
  • Incoming provider: This is a new or existing provider or legal entity applying to be registered for the regulated activity. They are looking to take over the regulated activities from the outgoing provider.

How to tell us about a sale and transfer

Both providers should make their applications around the same time. During the application we will ask for the details of the other provider. We will then link the applications and assess them together.

We complete registration when we receive formal confirmation that the sale and transfer is complete from both providers' legal representatives. We will then formally tell both providers.

Buying a registered business

If you have not registered with CQC

You need to:

  • log in to the provider portal
  • start the register as a provider form
  • enter the provider ID of the business you are buying, when prompted – if you do not have this, you can tell us the business’s name
  • complete an additional information form for the relevant sector and upload it to the provider portal
  • upload the relevant supporting documents

Apply to register as a new provider

If you are registered with CQC

You need to:

Complete an additional information form

All applicants

Sector specific

Registered managers

It is up to the incoming provider must make sure that managers are in post and registered at the location.

During a sale and transfer, registered managers at the location can either apply to:

Selling a registered business

When you sell or transfer your business to another provider, you need to tell us the:

  • incoming provider
  • location or locations
  • date when regulated activities will be transferred

If you are selling part of your business but continuing to provide regulated activities, you will need to apply to change your registration.

If you are selling your entire business and will stop providing regulated activities, you must cancel your CQC provider registration.

What applications are considered a sale and transfer

When we receive a sales and transfer application, we check:

  • the outgoing provider is still delivering the regulated activities to the public.
  • the location remains the same and that there is a continuing regulatory history
  • no one is providing care while unregistered

Applications that are not covered by a sale and transfer include:

  • a new or existing provider changing the location of the regulated activity
  • a new or existing provider purchasing a location to deliver regulated activities in the future
  • to transfer of an NHS contract due to the sale of a dental practice

For detailed information see our scope of registration

After we assess your application

We can provide a 'position statement' letter if you ask us for one.

This letter states that we:

  • will not be proposing to set any non-routine conditions upon the registration
  • do not expect to refuse the application

We retain the right to review any information that might change our assessment after the letter is issued. For example, if we receive information or evidence of concern.

We'll also tell you what needs to happen on the day of completion. There will be instructions for the seller, purchaser, and their legal representatives.

If the expected date of completion for the sale or transfer changes, you should tell us as soon as possible. If there are serious delays, we may need to reassess your application.

Refusing an application

If we intend to refuse your application, we’ll write to you setting out our reasons.