Pot Boy was more than a little tickled at the increase in the Codes of Practice (COP) that have been approved by the BIIBAC, or rather our very own Laughing Policeman. You see the written word is one thing, but the troops on the ground, well that’s quite something else. The mushrooming of COPs is for sure a good step in the right direction of transparency within the pub trade. However young Arthur at the top of the tree of the Laughing Policemen might be having second thoughts that the boys or girl from the BBPA mean what they say, after all their top mouth piece left at very short notice for destinations unknown, very unnerving. Maybe the penny is starting to drop in the battered industry bucket, time will tell, the Laughing Policeman’s actions have to speak louder than words to impress a lot of unhappy good people in the industry.
What follows happened last week and was dropped into PBs email post box the very day it happened. PB has also checked it out for accuracy and all of it its true.
Pubco lease, rent review next spring. Old Whitbread agreement so reviews every three years. Rent settled about a year ago and a year late, because that review seemed likely to go to arbitration. However settled at the ninth hour by agreement. So the 2008 rent £42K, Pubco now want an eye watering £69K. Area Director turns up with grinning and nodding numpty BRM in tow. Here’s the COP, just need it signed that you have received it. Tenant looks at where he is to sign and sees it says “I confirm receipt of the COP and agree to be bound by the content of this document”. He refused to sign.
The Area Director who is a noted bully, becomes unglued. You must sign he insists, or else things will cut up very nasty at the rent review and we will insist on seeing your accounts as it says in the COP. At the last review our mans Chartered Surveyor, PB has it on best authority, flatly refused to cough up the accounts arguing that there was a very big old slug of personal goodwill which stood to be ignored. Had he signed the COP, the chances are that the Pubco WOULD have insisted on the revelation of accounts for the 2011 review, and as sure as eggs are oeufs, rented him on his own considerable personal success. It all got nastier and nastier with the Pubco duo retreating still issuing threats over their shoulders as the went.
PB has canvassed two of Mi’ Learned friends who dropped in the snug last night. Seems that the Pubco, or for that matter any other Brewery, is quite entitled to issue what they think they want to do in the relationship with their Tenants. There is NO OBLIGATION that the tenant has to sign ANYTHING. In fact it is sound common sense to sign NOTHING at all that might have an implied effect on your lease. The weasel words of the Pubco yes men are as nothing because they are under strict ORDERS to ensure that all the tenants on their patch sign up. The tenant is supposed to always take legal advice first. Well that’s writ loud and clear in the COP.As my chum Pot Boy North said the other day, “Like as heck as chuffing like”. But everyone is in the clear because the COP insists that it is so. That gets the Laughing policeman off the hook well and truly. No blood on the carpet, no siree !
The reality is that faced with an all powerful Pubco Director, totally in your face and all over you, telling you how miserable he will make your wretched little life, and of course he knows where you live, whadda you do ? Mostly almost all will sign up, not taking (and paying for) legal advice, trusting that their meagre barrelege discount will stay and not be withdrawn (that was the “making life difficult ” bit) and forget that the lease is now pretty severely compromised.
The sting in the tail? The Pubco looks squeaky clean because, yes, almost all of their tenants have indeed signed up to the COP and have accepted its contents which after all were vetted and approved by the Laughing Policeman. Trebles all round. ANSWER ? Look on the new COPs as a Pubco/Brewer step in the right direction…but DON’T SIGN ANYTHING. There is no legal obligation to do so !
Down the hatch !
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