RICS to shine light on "clarity" of rent review process

By James Wilmore

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Rent review Group fair pint Rent reviews Alternative dispute resolution Dispute resolution Rics

Anti-tie campaign group Fair Pint is among those being invited to take part in a consultation to ensure "transparency" and "clarity" in rent reviews....

Anti-tie campaign group Fair Pint is among those being invited to take part in a consultation to ensure "transparency" and "clarity" in rent reviews.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is holding a series of meetings this month as part of a look at its members' roles in calculating pubco rents and to see whether there is support for a "low-cost alternative dispute resolution process".

It is understood CAMRA, the BII and the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers are also being invited to contribute to the meetings.

RICS and the pubcos came in for criticism in the Business and Enterprise Committee (BEC) report for failing to create a register of rent reviews to increase "transparency" - as recommended in the 2004 Trade and Industry select committee pubco inquiry.

The BEC report said: "Neither the pubcos nor RICS has taken any serious action to make sure the rental system is not unfairly biased against the lessee."

It also said that RICS members called to act in arbitration must be "scrupulous" in declaring their interests. "Membership of a chartered institution is no longer considered an automatic guarantee of integrity and certainly not of impartiality," the report said.

Among the issues to be looked at by RICS are:

  • Would better disclosure of rent calculations at rent review lead to more accurate and cost effective settlements?
  • Would there be greater transparency in the sector if chartered surveyors had full access to business trading data
  • Would access to fuller comparable information help the rent setting process?
  • Does the profits method basis of valuation cause differentiation and/ or disadvantage to any particular party to a rent review?
  • Does the pub sector have any unique characteristics which should be reflected in rental valuation and rent review conduct?
  • Will all sides of the industry support a low cost alternative dispute resolution process?

The forum will be chaired by solicitor Nicholas Cheffings, a partner at Lovells LLP, who is independent from the situation.

RICS director of valuation David Rusholme said: "We need to examine how surveyors operate in the unique circumstances involved in valuing public houses.

"In particular we need to explore how our guidance stands up to scrutiny in very difficult trading conditions.

"As such, it is right that we take this opportunity to consult with all interested parties to explore what can be done by chartered surveyors to ensure clarity and transparency in this sector."

A spokeswoman for RICS said the group was aiming to report back by the end of the year.

Related topics Property law

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