The PCA has reported on its ongoing engagement with the regulated pub-owning businesses about how they are supporting their tenants in line with Pubs Code obligations.
On 06 April 2020, I called on all six of the regulated pub-owning businesses (POBs) to do as much as they were able to support their tied tenants through the COVID-19 emergency. On 01 May I said that I expected them to start from a clear and consistent methodology for how they will support their tenants, and to be open about their approach so that individual tenants know what treatment they can expect. I also stressed the importance of the Pubs Code requirements in regulation 41 to record and agree on conversations with tenants.
Even before my intervention, Admiral Taverns had led the regulated industry in applying these principles and in providing their tenants with this information. Following my intervention, Ei Group/Stonegate and Star Pubs & Bars have published the methodologies that they are applying to tenant support and Greene King has published this in relation to their approach to supporting for the period from early June 2020 onwards. Tenants may otherwise have been provided with their POB’s methodology by their Business Development Manager.
Where a tenant has not been informed by their POB of a consistent and clear methodology for calculation of any support, or where the POB is applying it on a case by case discretionary basis, I have told the POBs that they must make sure tenants are aware that they can bring a complaint to their Code Compliance Officer if they do not consider they have been treated in a fair manner and that a report on unsatisfied complaints must promptly be sent to me. It is essential that tenants have confidence that discretionary support is being applied in a fair manner and I continue to urge that the best approach is a transparent and consistent methodology in order to avoid disputes which will take time and effort to resolve. Contact details for Code Compliance Officers can be found on the PCA website.