Star Pubs and Bars has changed its policy on rent increases following a Pubs Code Adjudicator (PCA) intervention.
Pub tenants have the right to a code rent assessment proposal (RAP) if, during the previous five years, there has been no concluded rent assessment (and/or, in the code’s first five years, a rent review).
The PCA identified arbitration cases in which Star declined to provide the tenant with a RAP because, it argued, the annual retail price index (RPI) rental increase during the previous five years was a rent assessment or rent review under the Pubs Code.
The PCA was aware that Star had already argued this same point unsuccessfully in a previous arbitration. Star had the option of appealing that award but chose not to do so.
Arbitration awards are not binding in future cases. However, the PCA told Star’s code compliance officer (CCO) that it was concerned with its position and that the company should have reconsidered it on receipt of the award. This included revisiting its view of the relevant law and applying it consistently to ensure it complied with its code duties.
In light of the PCA’s intervention, the CCO replied promptly to confirm that Star had now changed its position and would no longer identify RPIs as code rent assessments or reviews, and would be open about this to its tenants, including those in all ongoing arbitration cases.
Star will inform tenants of the change on their publican channel shortly and business development managers continue to be updated as appropriate. The CCO is available to answer any questions from tenants.