Always have everything in writing (Barrel Dregs)
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Barrel-Dregs has been run for many years, we change all the identifiable details, but give you an insight as to many of the sharp or bad practices by a number of companies, in most cases they are just legal but morally unacceptable.
We have a number of Pub owning companies that we will not recommend, their actions have featured in Barrel-Dregs too many times, we did hope that by highlighting their antics they might change, but in Barrel-Dregs terms “Leopards do not change their spots, they cover them with more Mud.”
An elderly licensee that I had dealt with most of his time as a licensee, had his pub taken over by one of the larger Pub Co’s. Prior to the takeover his area manager came in and told him that they had made an error on his accounts, they should have charged him so much extra a barrel for buying local real ale and the figure was several thousand pounds.
Since it was their problem he would have words with the director and write it off since the company was being bought out, he came back and said that it had been agreed and not to worry about it.
The company changed hands and the first thing the new company did was produce a bill for the outstanding amount, he said it had been written off, they said that they had no record of it and panic set in.
The new company promptly sold on a package of pubs to another company his being one of them, the new area manager came in and wanted payment of the outstanding debt, which increased at every change of ownership, within a fortnight and the licensee asked for my advice and I put him in touch with a specialist who resolved the problem, in theory the end of a nasty story.
The new Pub Co wanted to upgrade the premises and let it at a higher rent, they agreed an acceptable termination figure for the licensee to give up his lease and just before he left, they then slapped him with a massive bill for dilapidations, wiping out most of his money. Sadly this is not a solitary case, I have seen several more with unscrupulous landlords.
However friendly a Business Development Manager is, always insist on confirming everything in writing, even confirming what he or she said in an email with a follow up letter, if you get no response.
Their word may be his bond, but it frequently isn’t by his superior.(CR)
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Please Note:- We are not trying to discourage buying and selling of leases, we just want to discourage the legal Rip-Offs that go on, we firmly believe that those taking up a fair Market Rent Option, as it stands at present, could have leases worth serious money, though a number of Pub Co’s will fight tooth and nail to stop this improvement.