The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has established a Dilapidations Advisory Group after working with the office of the pubs code adjudicator (PCA).
Tenants group – the British Pub Confederation (BPC) – has accused the PCA of not taking forceful action on the issue and called the BBPA’s involvement “wholly inappropriate”.
Greg Mulholland, chair of the BPC, said it was “staggering” that the organisation would lead this group.
He said: “Tenants and former tenants up and down the country have long reported chronic abuse of dilapidations bills issued by pubcos, and this is indeed a matter that needs proper and robust investigation. Yet instead of doing this, as usual, the PCA sets up a group to discuss it.
“It is staggering that the statutory PCA has appointed the representative body of the pubcos to lead this group!
“This is clearly wholly inappropriate and will lead tenants to conclude that the whole approach of the PCA is downright rotten, as is already apparent from his failure to carry out the statutory role of reporting unfair practice.”
Call for intervention
The group wrote to Greg Clark, Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), urging him to overrule the move.
Mulholland added: “It’s time the Government stepped in and if they continue to ignore the failure of the adjudicator and the pubs code, they are breaking their promises made to tenants and to parliament.”
BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said the protestations were confusing.
She said: “Through ongoing discussions with the PCA about pub dilapidations, industry experts and tenant representatives have established a group to investigate this issue and develop agreed best-practice guidance.
“The British Pub Confederation’s objection to the establishment of this group is particularly confusing since a member of the confederation has already been consulted regarding future engagement with work on this issue.
“It is in the best interests of all concerned that a cross-industry solution is reached.”
A spokesperson for the PCA said: “We know that the way dilapidations are assessed and managed remains a major concern for tenants, and the PCA has impressed on pub-owning businesses they must ensure all of their policies and practices – from the start of the tenancy to its end – are code-compliant.”
The office of the PCA welcomed the initiative taken by the BBPA to establish the group.
A PCA spokesperson said: “The advisory group has been tasked by the BBPA with devising best practice approaches to the management of dilapidations under the pubs code that will deliver both consistency and comprehensive compliance across all of the regulated pub-owning businesses.
“The PCA will be an active participant in the advisory group, while retaining its ultimate responsibility as the regulator of the pubs code to take whatever action it thinks necessary to ensure compliance.”
It will continue to regulate specific dilapidations issues and take action on them, the PCA said.
Their spokesperson said: “It is vital that the views of tenants are heard and reflected in the work of the advisory group. The British Pub Confederation has made a powerful statement of its interest in this issue, and the PCA would strongly welcome its participation as part of this process.”