A founding member of Fair Pint is facing eviction from his pub over a £125,000 bill for unpaid legal expenses and backdated rent.
Mark Dodds, Scottish & Newcastle Pub Company (S&NPC) lessee at the Sun & Doves in Camberwell, London, will have a forfeiture hearing on 28 June. He has been at the pub since 1995.
Dodds has been involved in a spat with S&NPC over a proposed rent increase at the pub dating back to September 2005, which ultimately went against him. He owes around £70,000 in backdated rent and £65,000 in legal expenses.
In 1995, his rent had been £32,000, which rose to £54,000 in 2001 and then £65,000 following arbitration and a High Court case in 2008. This was backdated to 2005. He has never had his 2010 rent review. The original rent offer from S&NPC in 2005 had been £82,500.
"The rent reviews have killed me," said Dodds. "This really highlights the problems faced by single tied tenants when fighting against the big pubcos. In 2000 I didn't go to arbitration because I was concerned about the cost implications.
"The 2005 rent review dragged on for so long and drained money. If it hadn't been for the way I had been treated I never would have got involved with Fair Pint and there probably wouldn't have been a need for it.
"This was supposed to be a partnership but it has been anything but that."
Dodds helped to found Fair Pint in 2007 along with fellow licensee Steve Corbett, who left the Enterprise-leased George Canning pub in 2009.