Licensee to get ruling from PCA over MRO lease policy

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Waiting game: Gary is hoping for clarification from the PCA
Waiting game: Gary is hoping for clarification from the PCA
Licensee Gary Murphy of Ye Olde Mitre Inne in Barnet, North London, is hoping a ruling in his case with the pubs code adjudicator (PCA) will provide clarity over market-rent only (MRO) leases.

Murphy, who has been a licensee with Greene King pub for 10 years, said that his attempt to obtain MRO at his rent review in February 2017 was thwarted by the pubco's insistence on a new lease.

He told The Morning Advertiser​ that taking on a new agreement would have cost him up to £130,000 to implement, so he negotiated a tied lease. 

Half-decent deal

He admitted he had managed to negotiate a “half-decent” tied deal with a higher rent than MRO but with a market-price tie on standard lagers, Guinness, cider and free-of-tie on cask, a couple of keg lines and soft drinks.

However, he then made a complaint about the policy to the PCA, claiming it was detrimental to anyone attempting to exercise their MRO rights. He has also asked for the PCA to determine whether the pubco's policy on a new lease was compliant.

Only last month the PCA clarified the situation, with MRO claiming that it does not have to be in the form of a new lease agreement, but expects negotiations to be “reasonable and fair”. 

Greene King

Murphy said while he was making the complaint Greene King said it had acted "within the spirit and to the letter" of the Pubs Code legislation. He added that whatever the outcome of his case, which must remain confidential under the PCA terms, he would be pushing for the organisation to issue further advice.

He said: "My case will prove either way whether the legislation is strong enough to deal with deliberate circumvention and misrepresentation of what was intended by the legislation." 

Greene King was unable to comment on the case as it was still ongoing with the PCA.

PCA could also not comment as the case was ongoing.

Related topics: Legislation

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