Pub industry raises a glass as Pubs Code finally implemented after two months of delays

Francesca Washtell
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Cheers to Pubs Code and the relaxing of the beer tie (Source: Getty)

After almost two months of delays the Pubs Code will come into force today.

Tied pub tenants of the six largest pub-owning companies, including Enterprise Inns and Punch Taverns, will now have the legal right to the Market Rent Only option under the code at rent review or renewal.

This means they will no longer have to comply with the beer tie, which is a 400-year-old system that requires tied tenants to buy beer and other agreed supplies directly from their landlords rather than on the open market.

"This is a historic change that over time will tackle the chronic abuse of the beer tie that has been at the heart of the tied pubco model and done so much damage to so many pubs," Greg Mulholland MP and chair of the British Pub Confederation said.

Read more: Government faces calls from Labour to replace newly-appointed Pubs Code Adjudicator

"There are still some ways in which the pubcos will, even now, seek to circumvent the Code and the Market Rent Only option and so the government and the Pubs Code Adjudicator's office must monitor this and take action where necessary."

Inez Ward of Justice for Licensees said: "We are hopeful that, finally, we will see a much fairer and just balance in the relationships between pubco and tenant. The pubcos must learn that the bad practice that we have been unfortunate enough to witness will not be tolerated, this is a new dawn."

The code was withdrawn in May after two minor drafting errors were discovered. It was meant to be implemented on 26 May.

The pub industry recently expressed dismay that the code would not be back-dated, meaning around 220 tenants could have missed out on the chance to switch from the beer tie.

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