The case for market-rent-only (MRO) option at the pub she runs with her partner Martin Hayes – the Barley Mow in Cox Green, Maidenhead – has been ongoing for 21 months with the pubs code adjudicator (PCA), and she believes the system is not working. While Baish (pictured) is licensee at the premises, her partner Hayes is the leaseholder.
She took her concerns to the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, which has Prime Minister Theresa May as the local MP, and received “unanimous” backing from councillors across all parties.
They agreed to a motion that said the PCA was failing to tackle the “financial unbalance” of tied tenants in its borough and around the country.
The proposal also said: “The case of the Barley Mow demonstrates clearly that, in its current format, the secondary legislation is not fit for purpose, as it is clearly unable to offer tied tenants a simple and easy path to severing their tied terms, as was the intention of parliament.”
Councillor Simon Dudley, who made the proposal, is now going to write to the minister in charge of the pubs code, Richard Harrington MP, to bring the issue to his attention. He will also copy in Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Greg Clarke and PM Theresa May.
Baish said: “The pubs code is unnecessarily complicated and the average publican needs to take costly legal assistance to take on the pub-owning companies.
“We got full council backing. We feel under pressure and feel that the PCA is failing us.”
During the council debate on the issue on Tuesday 24 April, Dudley said that a “significant number” of pubs were under threat of closure.
“Before the banking crisis, a number of very large pubcos or pub-owning companies were established. They managed, through aggressive acquisition strategies, to buy up very significant estates of pubs,” he said.
“That was very significantly funded with debt and post the banking crisis they found themselves in a very highly indebted situation.“
He said that pubcos were forced to liquidate their assets, which were the pubs, to meet their banking covenants.