British Pub Confederation

Pubs code delay 'disgrace': tenants urged to put off negotiations

By Oli Gross contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pubs code delay 'disgrace': tenants urged to put off negotiations

Related tags: Pubs code adjudicator, British pub confederation, Landlord, Bis

On the day the pubs code was supposed to come into force, the British Pub Confederation has urged tenants to put upcoming rent renewal negotiations on hold, and labelled the delay a 'disgrace'.

Licensees with rent reviews falling after the original start date of 26 May are already missing out​ on the market rent-only option (MRO) due to supposed loopholes in the draft legislation.

The British Pub Confederation (BPC), which claimed there was no error in the proposed code, has called on the department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) to set a new deadline in June.

Retrospective claims

Simon Clarke, Fair Pint campaigner and secretary of the BPC, said: "We advise any tenants who have not settled their rent review or lease renewal to put all negotiations on hold pending the code's implementation, which may see grounds for retrospective claims and may still yet throw up opportunities for MRO to be considered."

The group has called on the big six tenanted pubcos of Punch, Enterprise, Star, Greene King, Admiral and Marston's to honour the original start date and offer MRO to tenants, but none have committed to doing so.

Renewals in turmoil

"What the delay has done is thrown many tenants with imminent rent reviews and renewals into turmoil. Rather than grasp a fantastic opportunity for positive PR, pub-owning companies have refused to offer the MRO opportunity retrospectively to the 26 May," Clarke added.

The BPC claims hundreds of tenants will be missing out on MRO with each month that passes.

Chair of the group Greg Mulholland MP said: "BIS missing this deadline is a disgrace, and means that every month more than 200 tied tenants will miss out on their chance to choose the MRO option. These tenants rightly expected the code to come into force by 26 May, but because of BIS's incompetence, this will not happen."

Set a date

He added: "We now call on BIS to make publishing the code a priority and to tell tenants and pubcos when the code will be published."

The BPC has also claimed taxpayers' money is being wasted on a pubs code adjudicator who has no cases to adjudicate so far.

But according to the Government the adjudicator is funded by a levy​ on the pub-owning businesses covered by the code.

The annual salary for the pubs code adjudicator is £130,000, and the office's estimated annual budget is £1.6m.

Dave Mountford, of the Pubs Advisory Service, added: "This latest delay in a long line of errors by BIS shows the complete disregard the department has shown for the pubs code and the industry in general.

"Throughout this process, we have felt that the department has failed to understand the background to this issue and instead attempted to balance the necessary changes without impacting on the pubco model.

"Unsurprisingly, they have failed to achieve the will of parliament."

Related topics: Legislation

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