Pub groups must do more to help tenants, says regulator

Empty Pub

The regulator has asked large pub companies to explain what they are doing to support tenants if they are refusing to waive rent during the Covid-19 crisis.

The Pubs Code Adjudicator (PCA) said it had contacted all of the regulated pub companies to find out “what they are doing, and what more they can do, throughout this emergency period to support their tenants”.

Admiral Taverns is the only large pub company to have cancelled rents. The other operators, which have at least 500 tied companies in England and Wales — Ei Group, Greene King, Punch, Marstons and Star Pubs and Bars — have not cancelled rents but have largely suspended rent collection, according to the Campaign For Real Ale (Camra).

“The Covid-19 emergency creates a threat to the livelihoods of tied tenants,” the PCA said. “Those tenants will need the support of their pub companies if they are to survive in their pubs and to return to profitability once the crisis has passed.”

Nik Antona, chairman of Camra, said that deferring rent collection “simply isn’t enough. The pub industry is facing unprecedented challenges and the survival of the trade as we know it is at stake.

“Pub companies pushed for the industry standard model that rents are based on turnover. As we have consistently pointed out, this means that closed pubs should not be having any rent levied on them at this time.”

Ei Group, Greene King, Punch, Marstons and Star Pubs and Bars did not respond to a request for comment.