The BBPA has submitted its response to the consultation on the statutory review of the pubs code and the pubs code adjudicator, and it also stated most aspects of the pubs code are working in an acceptable way, considering the complexity of the legislation and how long it has been in place.
It said the adjudicator should accredit the individual market-rent-only (MRO) option agreements for the six pubcos to provide tenants and lessees with more information and greater clarity.
For the same reason, the BBPA said the adjudicator should publish ‘golden threads’ of common interpretation in certain areas of the code, so all parties have a clear and consistent understanding of the legislation.
Feedback to the trade body from the six pubcos covered by the code indicates the average length of occupation and the number of enquiries regarding new tenancies have risen since the code came into force.
It also stated new tenancy options had been introduced to the market, which the BBPA claimed gave prospective tenants a wider range of choice on how they run their pub to suit their financial position and operating experience.
Since the code came into place, the majority of tenants/lessees said they were satisfied with their pubco overall and are more likely than not to recommend them to another licensee (according to Kam Media Licensee Index from autumn 2018).
The BBPA also claimed the success or failure of the code and the adjudicator should not be solely based on the number of MRO agreements.
It added that MRO is only one element of the code, which was not introduced with the singular aim of increasing the number of free-of-tie agreements but to oversee a much broader, fair and balanced relationship between pub companies and tenants.
BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “The evidence suggests the pubs code and the adjudicator are doing the job they were meant to do, regulating the relationship of pub operator and publican.
“It is still early days for a code, which had no transition period and where guidance and decision making has been slow. On that basis, this review should acknowledge the code is a work in progress.”