Enterprise Inns has been criticised for adding a new monthly charge of £100 plus VAT to licensees who don't pay the pubco by direct debit.
In a letter to licensees, the pubco said the fee is to off-set the "disproportionate" costs of collecting charges by other means.
The charge will be added to rent invoices from 1 January and will amount to £1,380 for the whole of 2010.
One lessee, who declined to be named, said: "It's like a kick in the teeth when you're already on the floor.
"I'm not in a position to pay by direct debit. It's that difficult at the moment - they get the money when I get the money."
Surveyor David Morgan, managing director of Cookseys DMP, said it would be "good estate management" if such a step could only be taken with the authority of both the lessee and pubco.
"To impose something unilaterally, if it's outside the scope of the lease agreement, is not entirely fair."
A statement from Enterprise Inns read: "All licensees are required, under the terms of their agreements with the company, to pay amounts owing on their trade accounts by direct debit.
"The vast majority of licensees settle their accounts regularly by direct debit. Where a licensee has decided not to pay by direct debit, then it is appropriate for the company to charge an administration fee and this will be formally notified in writing".