Last month I wrote on this blog how nice it will be soon – at last – to go to a pub. Regrettably a recent survey of tied publicans, i.e. those who work for one dedicated brewer or pub owning business, aren’t so sure.
Latest research from the Forum of British Pubs (FBP), suggests that three quarters of tenants responding to the FPB survey were worse off at leaving a pub than when they started, and two thirds said they would not take on another tied pub.
A third were unsure whether or not they opted out of the Landlord and Tenant Act when they took on their tenancy, notwithstanding the legal obligation on their pubs owners to take prospective tenants through a notification process on this specific issue.
Similarly, a third claim that they were charged a full rent during the lockdown period notwithstanding that they were closed through no fault of their own.
At the same time more than 4 out of 10 tenants were encouraged to take the Covid Support Grants solely to be used to pay their rents, with a third still left carrying monthly losses of in excess of £2,000.
Four out of ten tenants cite the tie as being the principle reason for them leaving the industry, with the same percentage leaving their business as they were consistently losing money.
On behalf of the Forum of British Pubs, Dave Mountford comments, “The fact that two thirds of ex-tied tenants would not return to run another tied pub speaks volumes and needs to be heard loud and clear by the pub owning businesses. As for the fact that a third of tenants didn’t know whether they were covered by the Landlord and Tenant Act is shocking, as this is vital legal process that must be followed correctly.”
The FT ran this story towards the end of last year suggesting as many as 39,700 pubs may not survive the pandemic lockdown. Given there were apparently only 47,200 at the start of the crisis that seems a little gloomy, even for the FT.
Nevertheless, I’d say a visit to the Old Man and Scythe is well overdue.
The above is accurate as at 11 May 2021. The information above may be subject to change during these ever-changing times.
The content of this note should not be considered legal advice and each matter should be considered on a case by case basis.