The pubs code adjudicator, Paul Newby, has issued a warning to pubcos after the office received its first referrals for arbitration following complaints from tenants.
The office of the pubs code adjudicator has reported receiving numerous enquiries, complaints and requests for information from tenants since the code came into force on 21 July .
Newby said: “The pub industry should be aware of my expectations as the pubs code adjudicator. I expect pub-owning businesses to act in a manner that does not inhibit a tied tenant from accessing their rights under the pubs code, providing all relevant information quickly and clearly.”
Newby reminded bosses they must give reasons if refusing or disputing a notice service or a request for information made by a tied tenant.
He also stressed that profit and loss statements provided alongside rent proposals or rent assessment proposals must be sufficiently clear and detailed. They should also include justification or supporting evidence for any assumptions made so that the tenant can understand how estimated figures have been calculated.
The obligation is also on pub-owning businesses to ensure that the terms on which MRO tenancies are offered comply fully with the pubs code and contain no unreasonable terms and conditions for the tied tenant.
Newby continued: “Open communication is vital to help settle disputes and improve relationships across the industry. In all cases, the principle of fair and lawful dealing requires a pub-owning business to explain its position, so a tied tenant can know the nature of the dispute.”
Full guidance on rent proposals under the pubs code can be found here .
The pubs code adjudicator’s website also contains information about the pubs code .
A statutory consultation on the operation of the pubs code adjudicator’s investigation and enforcement powers is open until 30 September 2016.
Meanwhile, the British Pub Confederation has reiterated its calls for Newby to step down and claism it has new evidence that he failed to accurately declare his interests.
The group has sent a letter to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), in which it details its concerns over the manner in which Newby declared his continuing interests in his former employer, Fleurets.
Speaking in Parliament yesterday, Greg Mulholland MP, chair of the BPC, called on the secretary of state, Greg Clark, to remove Newby from his role. Clark said he would look at the evidence from the BPC.