2020/NO.39 - The Pubs Code Adjudicator (PCA ) has published (10/07/2020) a seemingly helpful guidance note on external events that could constitute a Trigger Event to kick start an application for free of tie/MRO. Basically these are events that have a direct and negative effect on your business and enables the request to have a revised Rent Assessment Proposal issued. The changes thought likely include…
Local infrastructure… (Creation of a new bypass road, the opening of a big new multi entertainment pub almost next door.)
Local employment… (closing of a big factory, near shut down of the high street shopping scene that finds you in the middle, closure of office buildings upon which you are vitally dependent for lunchtime trade)
Long term changes to the local economic environment… (Closure of a steel works or car production plant with knock on effects for the entire area)
Local environment factors...(Tourist restrictions. health and safety requirements.)
For these requirements to be satisfied they must;
result in a decrease in trade;
not have been reasonably foreseeable and;
be beyond your control.
You cannot make the MRO request if the event was due to your ill health or linked to prices. Now here comes the tricky bit. The PCA have confirmed…
“To show there has been a trigger event you must first send your POB a written analysis of the forecasted level of trading of your pub. This forecast MUST cover a period of AT LEAST the next 12 months. This is your relevant analysis”
(Read “guesswork” for “Analysis”). Your POB in return can easily say that it is their guesswork (Analysis) that with care and careful marketing and expertise that the trigger event claimed will not persist for the twelve months concerned. And anyway, the factory may reopen or the bypass will never be built. Covid-19 will find a cure and the offices will be fully staffed again in the fullness of time. Claim rejected and if you are not a happy camper, go complain to the PCA.
No not an open and shut case by any means. We reckon that you need to keep very accurate records of the downwards movement in trade over a minimum nine months from 4th July to even start to put a case together. Rock solid evidence is the only way to prove a case. Forecasting, i.e educated guesswork proves nothing if the other side can exercise the same degree of guesswork but with rose tinted glasses.