JW Lees investigates tenants

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Related tags: Jw lees, Middleton greater manchester, Leasehold estate, Greater manchester

Manchester brewer JW Lees has launched an investigation across its 130-strong tenanted estate after finding a band of licensees buying outside the...

Manchester brewer JW Lees has launched an investigation across its 130-strong tenanted estate after finding a band of licensees buying outside the tie.

It has sent a letter to all its tenants warning them that they will "ultimately endanger their tenancy" if they are found buying outside the JW Lees tenancy agreement, which is a full-purchase tie.

The Publican was alerted to the probe by an anonymous letter from a group of "disgruntled tenants of JW Lees" in the Middleton, Rochdale and Oldham areas of Greater Manchester, (see below).

However, Mark Welch, director of pub operations at JW Lees, told The Publican he had found a small band of tenants purchasing Guinness, cider and other packaged products for cash, outside of the tie.

He said: "We operate a traditional tenancy agreement and a full-purchase tie and that is the agreement. We can't offer competitive rents unless we are getting a full-purchase tie.

"It is disappointing, as licensees sign up to agreement and this is explained to them. I am hoping we can tighten the purchasing up and continue with the good relationship we have always had with our licensees."

As a family brewer the company argues that it is investing substantially in the tenanted estate and it has spent £1,000 for each premises under the new licensing regime.

One licensee in the area said tenants who do not buy out of the tie were at a disadvantage if others were doing it. But he added: "If you sign the contract you should keep to it."

The below comments were received in an anonymous letter sent to The Publican by a group of "disgruntled tenants of JW Lees"

"How JW Lees can justify charging us the prices it does for the products we are forced to purchase from them is unbelievable.

"How can it charge, in most instances, between £9 to £12 per case more then most landlords are charged from other breweries and well over £30 more for Guinness and cider?

"...With prices like they are, we as tenants are made to charge more than our competitors, thus giving us a disadvantage. The company says its rents are fair but not compared with our competitors as they are not tied for every single thing."

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