Always the case isn’t it that the first people in the know are the draymen. Enjoying a ciggy and the first pint of the day no later than 7.00am after the first drop always leaves room for a quick catch up on the latest.
Well….It seems that one of the POBs is taking very badly several recent Covid -19 related Independent Assessor (IA) rent determinations. Our drayman tells us that they threw their toys out of the pram at the realistically low levels of rent assessment that were decided. Well below their own expectations “to preserve shareholder value” as they often say. ”No this surely can’t be the correct rent” they cried and off to appeal they went. All perfectly legal and above board under the Pubs Code regulation 37 (10) (a) which allows an appeal to the Pubs Code Adjudicator where the POB or the Tenant considers “that the rent determined is not the market rent”. Seems that the reasons given for the appeal may have been twofold;
(a) that the IA had not properly studied the submissions made and;
(b) that the IA had not followed RICS guidance.
“Stands to reason” said our drayman, “it will gum up the works something rotten. These appeals could stay with the PCA or go to an outside arbitrator who may not even be a pub rent specialist. Not exactly your Usain Bolt for speed are they. Does that mean that there will be untold grief due to the huge delay in getting the arbitrator to make a well sorted decision on the rent going free of tie. Surely the IA must have read everything he was given, like he would be well daft not to, and he would have tried to estimate the future trade. That would cop for compliance with your RICS regs innit”.
We replied that it could be highly likely if the appeals are on exactly the same basis time and time again that the POB could insist on every appeal being viewed separately. This could be argued on the basis that each case turns on its own unique evidence. It will massively delay the pubs concerned being able to achieve free of tie status. But then again no POB wants anyone to go free of tie and wipe out their wholesale income, do they? Could a stream of identical appeals be thought of as vexatious? We do not know the answer to that one… Chances are that the world at large will never know due to the issues of confidentiality. If the POB lose they will for sure not want to tell anybody, will they?
More than likely that the draymen will know quicker than anyone else whichever way the wind blows. We will keep you all posted as far as we can.