Tenant accuses Punch of keeping him in the dark on takeover

By Ellie Bothwell

- Last updated on GMT

The Boot, Punch Taverns
The Boot, Punch Taverns

Related tags: Punch taverns, Management

A tenant has hit out at Punch Taverns for selling the freehold of his pub to developers without informing him or giving him the opportunity to buy it.

Roger Clarke at the Boot in Chipperfield, Hertfordshire, described his shock after two men walked into his pub to tell him they were the new owners.

Clarke, who has been running the pub for 10 years, said he had told his business relationship manager that he was interested in buying the freehold if it ever came up for sale and was informed that the pub company always gave first refusal to its tenants.

He added that new owners, Arnold Homes, has asked for an increase in rent and drawn up a schedule of dilapidations and he is concerned the company will develop the property, despite the fact there is seven years left on his lease.

However, Arnold Homes, which refused to say if it has ever developed a pub, insisted there are “no immediate plans for development” and a rent increase is to be discussed because Clarke will now be free of tie. “In theory I can stay. In practice they are making it very difficult for me,”

Shock

Clarke said. “It’s so annoying when Punch has always known I wanted to buy the freehold. They only wrote to say they had sold the property after the completion date. It’s a bit of a shock.”

Punch Taverns central operations manager David Pawson said the Boot was in the company’s Turnaround Division, set up in 2011 and formed of pubs earmarked for sale during the next five years.

He said at that point, all tenants within the division were given an opportunity to make an offer to purchase the freehold of their pub.

“I am informed that Mr Clarke spoke on occasions with his business managers saying he wanted to buy the pub, but never actually put in an offer,” he added.

A Punch Taverns spokeswoman added: “Unfortunately the purchasers visited Mr Clarke the day after the exchange to inform him they were in the process of purchasing the pub. This took place before our area manager had the opportunity to update him in person.”

She added the freehold of the pub was sold subject to the terms of the lease and Clarke is protected by provisions in that agreement.

Related topics: Punch Pubs & Co, Property law

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15 comments

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RFM

Posted by Inez,

Only if the rent is fair and maintainable! When I say fair and maintainable I do mean in the generally acknowledged sense and not in the, hmmmm lol,shall we just say Fantastic Mythical Targets..........

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Dave M

Posted by RFM,

Why do you say i am not clear, then say exactly the same as I did, ergo if the new owners can't supply under the terms of the lease Mr Clarke can buy from whoever he wishes without breach.

The fact the new owners breach can only be a positive for Clarke.

As you know so much, why he not want to be FoT. It's the panacea isn't it.

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Simple mistake, surely?

Posted by david,

It's all a simple mistake. Punch obviously thought Arnold Homes was a Mr Homes who wanted to invest in the ownership of a pub and allow their partner, Roger Clarke to continue his operation of it.

What a shock to both Punch and their tenant when Arnold turns out to be a local builder keen on acquiring local sites for housing development!

http://www.arnoldhomesaylesbury.co.uk/new-sites-required.html

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