The office of the pubs code adjudicator has reported receiving numerous enquiries, complaints and requests for information from tenants since the code came into force on 21 July.
It has reminded pub companies that they should not act to shorten the time tenants have to enforce their rights under the code and all relevant information relating to rent assessments or proposals for tenancies must be made available.
This includes information related to a new tenancy where there is an offer of a market rent-only option (MRO) agreement.
Pubs code adjudicator Paul Newby said: “The pub industry should be aware of my expectations as the pubs code adjudicator. I expect pub-owning businesses to act in a manner that does not inhibit a tied tenant from accessing their rights under the pubs code, providing all relevant information quickly and clearly.”
Pubcos have also been reminded they must give reasons if refusing or dispute a notice service or a request for information made by the tied tenant.
Profit and loss statements provided alongside rent proposals or rent assessment proposals must be sufficiently clear and detailed. They should also include justification or supporting evidence for any assumptions made so that the tenant can understand how estimated figures have been calculated.
The obligation is also on pub-owning businesses to ensure that the terms on which MRO tenancies are offered comply fully with the pubs code and contain no unreasonable terms and conditions for the tied tenant.
Newby continued: “Open communication is vital to help settle disputes and improve relationships across the industry. In all cases, the principle of fair and lawful dealing requires a pub-owning business to explain its position, so a tied tenant can know the nature of the dispute.”
Full guidance on rent proposals under the pubs code can be found here.
The pubs code adjudicator’s website also contains information about the pubs code.
A statutory consultation on the operation of the pubs code adjudicator’s investigation and enforcement powers is open until 30 September 2016.