According to a statement released on Thursday 7 January, all defined periods within England, Wales and Scotland’s codes of practice will be paused while pubs are closed under blanket Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.
In practical terms, this means that all ongoing and upcoming rental negotiations will be postponed, that there will be no requirement for business development managers to respond within 35 days, and that the response may come from an alternative pub company representative.
What’s more, visits for the purposes of rent assessment are being put on hold until pubs re-open and requests submitted by a tenant for a rent review during the suspension period have been paused until said period ends.
Additionally, subsequent rent review periods will be shortened by the length of the suspension period once they’re able to resume.
The PGB – which comprises he UKHospitality, the Licensee Association, the British Beer & Pub Association, the British Institute of Innkeeping, the Federation of Licensed Victuallers Associations, and the Guild of Master Victuallers – added that the suspension would be kept under review.
The sector body also moved to reassure tenants and lessees that the suspension will not cancel or undermine any of their entrenched right, and that it is solely in place due to the practical difficulties of maintaining the defined periods while when pubs are closed and many staff are furloughed.
Pragmatic and sensible
The PGB also sought to remind tenants, lessees and pub companies that code principles remain valid and applicable throughout the temporary suspension.
“The PGB in conjunction with the PGB of Scotland has agreed with the pub companies who follow the Tenanted and Leased codes of practice and self- regulation that all rent review negotiations will be suspended until further notice while pubs remain closed again during the coronavirus epidemic,” PGB chair Sir Peter Luff said.
“This pragmatic and sensible step is in addition to any agreements individual companies have put in place for their pubs and relieves all tenants of one possible worry during the coronavirus epidemic.
“This quick and flexible response to the current crisis brings real benefits to pubs and we hope it will be welcomed.”
Under the nationwide lockdown introduced in March last year, the PGB called a similar temporary halt to ongoing and upcoming pub rental negotiations while venues remained closed due to the ongoing Covid-19 emergency.
The move also followed the signing a joint declaration to protect tenant rights by the businesses regulated by the pubs code after they informed the pubs code adjudicator (PCA) Paul Newby that they are unable to uphold duties during the Covid-19 shutdown.