Tenants have been urged to ‘use or lose’ the new pubs code adjudicator, due to be up and running by June next year.
The adjudicator will have the power to enforce the code, arbitrate disputes and impose sanctions on pubcos if they fail to comply with the legislation.
However, solicitor Tom Birtwhistle from Truth Legal, which specialises in landlord and tenant law, warned that the Government will be quick to scrap the role if it feels it is not being utilised by the industry.
Speaking at the first Pubs Advisory Service market rent-only option (MRO) roadshow in London last week, Birtwhistle said: “It really is use it or lose it. Unless the adjudicator is working flat out for the next three years, it will simply add grist to the mill to the idea this role is a gilded lily that is not needed.
“Reviews of the adjudicator will be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it will be an opportunity for disgruntled tenants to report back issues so the adjudicator can say ‘my services are very much required’. On the other, pub companies will have the opportunity to say ‘we’ve got our house in order; we no longer need an adjudicator’.”
He said the wording of the legislation already made clear the Government’s ability to scrap the adjudicator entirely.
Fair Pint campaigner Simon Clarke added that tenants should not wait for the law to report disputes with pub companies. “Any examples of bad behaviour are best reported to tenant organisations or even Government during this review period, so the code is robust enough to deal with issues when it comes into effect.”
The Pubs Advisory Service also unveiled its online profit calculator, which allows licensees to compare how they would fare under a tied or free-of-tie deal.
Tenants enter data including their rent split, food sales and tied costs to get a ballpark figure of their likely profit under both models. Visit www.pas.expert.
Further MRO events planned in Liverpool, York and Leicester have been cancelled, with organisers blaming the tough financial climate facing tied tenants, and said many were unable to afford cover and travel costs.