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Pot Boy North was on a rare visit to the Midlands in search of mebbe the finest porter he knows, Hobson’s Postman’s Knock, when Eee Up, this sad little tale came to me notice. Admiral Taverns lease, last two tenants gone bust so its going dirt cheap. Middle aged businessman, local to this affluent commuter village, knows the pub well and reckons that he could make it fly. Talks to the BRM who surprise, surprise, has no trading figures but who categorically assures the fellow that the pub is easily capable of doing £6K a week. So certain is the BRM that the future rent being discussed is calculated accordingly.
The building (especially the many flat roofs) is in shoddy nick and our smooth talking BRM faithfully promises that “all the work will be covered by Admiral”. Fellow moves in on a six months tenancy at will to be converted into a 20 year lease automatically at the end of the initial six months. Our man sees the Admiral contractors start to work on the very extensive flat roofs at the same time as he is spending on the internal refurb. Admiral surveyor very apologetic, but has to take roofers off the job almost as soon as they started because of an urgent job where there has been a fire. Roofers never return and no other contractors put in an appearance except to replace two sets of french windows onto the trade patio. Time passes with “faithful assurances” that the mass of roofing and exterior works will be done as soon as possible.
With the Admiral assurances (from a new BRM) ringing in his ears, the fellow signs up on the new full repairing and insuring supply tied lease. He has in the six months spent about £70K on a complete refurb of the interior. But ay oop, the roofs still leak like sieves and are ruining his new decor and making the electrics so unsound that he has to shut down the kitchen and can’t put on the planned live entertainment because the walls in the function room are ringing wet. He stops paying rent in protest as it was based on a £6K per week hoped for total sales, which are now about £2K (no kitchen, no entertainment).Admiral point to the repairing obligations in the full repairing lease for which he is fully responsible and ,booger ‘im, they want their rent or else they will tek possession.
Guess what, and this is from the daft fellows own mouth “to save a couple of grand I didn’t think I needed a lawyer, biggest mistake of my entire business life”. He had no schedule of condition attached to the new lease. No guarantees in writing of the works that were to be done by Admiral (now all flatly denied).No stepping up of the rental until the promised total sales were achieved. Nothing in writing from anybody at Admiral except the two documents for the six months tenancy and the new lease. So far he’s £70K down the tubes and the pub is shut whilst no rent is being paid. No beer is being delivered as the account is on stop and the certainty is that he won’t have the money to fight the inevitable Possession Order.
If only this were an isolated case but it happened this year,2010 to an otherwise successful local businessman. How can sane people be so blinded by promises and their own emotion and live on cloud nine. Please be warned if you are thinking of taking on a new life as a Publican. TAKE PROFESSIONAL ADVICE. The cost up front is cheap if you avoid the above true, very expensive and sad case.
Must get back off up the M6 and regards to all you soft Southerners.
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