The Pubs Code came into force in England and Wales in 2016, and is legislation that is meant to protect the rights of pub tenants who rent their pub from a large property owning pub company. For far too long, pub companies have been exploiting their tenants, charging inflated rents for the property and preventing them from buying their beer on the open market. Research conducted for CAMRA found that 80% of pub tenants who were ‘tied' for rent and beer to their pub company were earning less than £15,000 per year.
The Pubs Code is meant to ensure that tenants who are tied to a pub company are no worse off than tenants that are not, and also contains provisions that allow tenants to break the tie with their pub company in certain situations. There is a Pubs Code Adjudicator, who has the power to impose financial penalties on pub companies who don't follow the Code, and arbitration powers to settle disputes between pub companies and tied tenants.
Two years after the Code came into force, it is clear that some pub owning businesses are exploiting gaps in the Pubs Code and not abiding by the spirit of the legislation. CAMRA is calling on the Government to review the Pubs Code urgently to make sure that pub tenants are getting the fair deal that the Code was intended to deliver.
Please note that CAMRA cannot offer legal advice to pub tenants in relation to the Pubs Code. Publicans with questions about the Code should contact the Adjudicator directly. Contact details and more information on the Code can be found on the Pubs Code Adjudicator's website.