A statutory Pubs Code drafted to regulate the relationship between tied pub tenants and the large businesses which rent the premises has been introduced.
The Code, which was implemented as part of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act, was implemented over the summer and will be enforced by an independent adjudicator.
They will have the power to resolve individual disputes, award redress to tenants in cases where the Code is found to have been breached and investigate allegations of widespread abuses.
It will apply to any company which owns 500 or more tied pubs across England and Wales.
The main principles of the Code are to encourage fair and lawful dealing by pub-owning businesses and tied tenants and to ensure that these tenants are not any worse off than if they would be if they were not the subject of a tie.
Under the Code, tied tenants are entitled to:
- Receive the information they require to make informed decisions about taking on a pub or new terms and conditions
- Have their rent reassessed if there hasn’t been a review during the past five years
- Request a market rent only option to go free of tie and pay only a market rent in specific circumstances.