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Tied-Pub Tenants to Benefit from New “Pubs Code”

The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 (“SBEA”) contains provisions for the introduction of a new “Pubs Code”.

The core principles of the Pubs Code are to ensure that tied pub tenants are no worse off than if they were not subject to any tie and to regulate fair and lawful dealing by large pub-owning businesses in relation to their tied tenants.

The Pubs Code will apply to all business owning 500 or more tied pubs in England and Wales.

Once the Code is implemented, tied pub tenants will be able to:

receive the information that they need about taking on a pub or new terms and conditions;
have their rent reassessed if they haven’t had a rent review for 5 years;
request to go free of tie and pay market rent only, in certain circumstances.

In addition to the Code, there will also be a new Pubs Code Adjudicator (“PCA”), whose job it will be to ensure that the Code is properly enforced.

Paul Newby has been appointed to the role of PCA and he will have the power to:

resolve disputes between landlord and tenant;
award redress to a tied tenant if a breach of the Code is established;
investigate abuses of the Code

Currently, the regulations are only in draft form and are available to view online at the following web addresses: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2016/9780111146330/contents and http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2016/9780111146323/contents.

The Code is due to come into force on 26 May 2016.

For further information, please contact Ben Slade or Melanie Holder on 01823 745777.