Business

Pub landlords to get help under new code of practice

Man drinking beer Image copyright PA
Image caption The new rules are aimed at helping pub tenants struggling to pay rent

Plans for new rules to help pub tenants struggling to pay rent or beer costs have been unveiled by the government.

The new statutory code includes the right to request a rent review after five years and comes after complaints about abuse of the "beer tie".

So-called "tied pubs" are required to buy supplies - often at high prices - from pub companies that own the pubs.

The move comes after half of publicans tied to large pub firms said they earned less than the minimum wage.

"Far too many landlords feel their income is squeezed by big pub companies. So today we are tacking action to make sure they get a fairer deal," said Business Secretary Vince Cable.

The planned reforms include the appointment of an independent adjudicator who will have the power to enforce the code, investigate breaches and impose sanctions, including financial penalties, on pub owners if they fail to comply with the new rules.

Tenant landlords will also have the right to review the information pub companies used to determine a rent increase, and choose whether to be tied for gaming machines.

Tenants of companies that own more than 500 pubs will have the right to request a "parallel free-of-tie rent assessment" to show whether they would be better off independently.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said it hoped that the new proposals would help tenants get fairer rent assessments.

"The self regulatory approach hasn't worked, so these new rules will give fairer treatment for landlords so that they can keep your local pub going strong," said Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

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