Barrel-Dregs, Tenant at Will, a tale of duplicity (165)

By | February 6, 2011

These are copies of emails between ourselves and an honest person who walked into a Pub Co Tenancy at Will, with the promise of , he thought, a secure lease. This could be an on going tale of duplicity, the names and locations have been changed or removed for obvious reasons.

Apologies for the intrusion, I am in a bit of a pickle with a Pub Co, at the moment I don’t want to go public but will do so when timing is right.

I have a town centre premises on a TAW, we came in last year with the usual promises of help, finally in the Autumn we agreed terms for a lease and details were sent to head office for processing.

Since then we have had several meetings to progress the site and discuss business plans, on several occasions we were prevented from decorating the premises until paperwork was finalised, this went on right up to November.

During this whole process we have suffered several management and a Divisional Director change and had to repeatedly go over previous discussions.

A new RM was appointed who immediately took sick leave then eventually presented the Divisional Director ( who was given early retirement ) with a solicitors letter for misrepresentation !

The new replacement has since been evasive at best and confrontational at worst, as we won’t suffer fools and like to be honest he has taken a dislike to us and we feel he has deliberately sabotaged our agreement with the Pub Co. January 2011 I sent emails and a letter to our new Divisional Director requesting a meeting as we were repeatedly overlooked or ignored, I simply said that we could no longer be expected to just open the doors without investing and progressing the business, we feel as if we are caretaking the building at our own expense and have not been given the opportunity to trade as promised on entry.

The RM responded with a request to meet at the premises he turned up with a Brulines official who went behind the bar calibrating the lines whilst he chatted to me, his first words were that we ( the Pub Co ) owned the whole building and was considering putting it up for disposal !!

I was dumfounded at his smug and dismissive stance that I completely forgot about the Brulines guy.

I asked him what about our agreement that was in head office being processed ? ” Oh I put it on hold several months ago” I almost burst a blood vessel at this point and said you mean all these conversations about progressing the business have simply been a tactic to keep me on a TAW under false pretences I was disgusted at the sheer audacity of the man.

I must say that prior to this information getting back to me that I was only to be here on a 3 month TAW then it would be passed to another party who openly bragged about this within the neighbourhood ?

Acting on this I went to an open day where the replacement RM was shocked to see me as he was actively interviewing people for the premises I was already in, including me as I went in to someone else’s place.

It has been a very frustrating time and to top it off he then went on to accuse me of buying out of tie, the Brulines guy asked me some leading questions and tried to get me to admit to at least maybe introducing stock from one of my other pubs, I told him he was mistaken and if all this was about was to extort money and accuse me of theft then the meeting was finished the RM said “we” pay Brulines a lot of money and believe their findings to be accurate therefore I am issuing you with this fine will you sign it, I said no as it was mistaken and without knowing the details I will be seeking independent advice and testing of the equipment and request this go to a court of law.

I also queried why if according to Brulines there was a variance from September to January, but January was OK did it take so long to contact me ? he just shrugged his shoulders and said ” because it did” I replied the timing of this is unbelievable given recent communications to your boss. I was absolutely dumbfounded to find we had just wasted seven months of our life and that I was dealing with an extremely devious individual with no scruples.

We had from our point of view been accepted for the premises, we were approached by the Pub Co to reopen the premises as they had been let down at the last minute, we reopened the premises within three days in spite of there being no Tills, glassware, optics, ice machine, glasswasher etc previous tenants had emptied the pub.

We were commended for our efforts and resourcefulness. and have repeatedly been told by all RM’s and the Divisional Director that we were classed in their eyes as good operators.

The next meeting was with the replacement RM and the new Divisional Director, in view of the previous meeting I asked a colleague to stand in as my business advisor I also asked permission to record the meeting which I did so.

The meeting went on for over an hour and in a nutshell the new Director told me he was not convinced in me as an operator or the premises and that he with information supplied recommends the property be admitted to the next discussion for disposal which is March and any previous agreement I had was cancelled, he also said he reached this decision back in November.

It was only with me forcing the meeting did I learn of this. My colleague was also disgusted at the treatment I received ( he is a high ranking individual connected to most of the brewing families and some current CEO’s of Pubco’s )

He queried the length of time the agreement was taking to process and said that someone had taken the decision to stop the process ! He had frequently asked how I was progressing.

I must also add that due to my colleague’s presence and the recording of the meeting the replacement RM was somewhat muted and less opinionated especially when he realised who he was. All in all a disgraceful way to treat prospective retail partners with several year’s experience of the industry. I must also point out that the premises in question is on a prime corner site in the heart of the business district of a major city it comprises several floors of modern office space too.The actual footprint of the site if developed further will rival some of the highest charge rates per square foot than that of most of Europe.

The site is very attractive for global investment trusts, it is my guess that someone spotted this and stopped our agreement progressing, As I said to the new Divisional director if this is the case all they had to do was be honest and transparent, I would still be happy to go with a rolling three monthly deal appropriate to this, it simply was unprofessional to expect us to continue to commit to long term utilities and PDQ contracts on the current TAW which was only supposed to have been three months.

I want the opportunity to expose this when the timing is right and back it up with undeniable facts as I have a fair amount of correspondence on emails. until then I will remain anonymous.

Pxxx Off

Nothing changes, my suggestion would be get as far away from the Pub Co as possible without losing any money.   However looking at it practically, they would appear to be trying to shaft you because they may have an alternative use, you need an informed opinion on your TAW status, if you haven’t discussed it with the solicitor that acted for you or no formal agreement has been drawn up, even for the TAW, I will email my colleague who deals with these people almost every day on lease issues.   Do they hold a deposit and did you have a survey, or did they soft soap you in to taking it with no form of agreement?   I will forward your email on.   Which part of the South are you in

Regards,

Barfly

Hi

It turns out all pubs in the area have received letters announcing their new RM yet ours has stayed with the stand in RM who apparently specialises in the disposals side ! There is no agreement except that of a three month TAW which has just rolled on due to the lengthy agreement process, which is obvious now that it was never going to materialise and now they have admitted it I would like the opportunity when the time is right to seek legal guidance on a possible prosecution     Hi Potboy, This guy sounds as though he is being screwed by a Pub Co. It sounds as though the Pub Co have not managed to screw all his money off him yet, would you like to email him.

Speak soon,

Barfly

Hi Pxxx Off,

I will send your emails to a colleague for a comment.

Regards,

Barfly

The Blog Site for Pub Lovers
Barfly,
 Not a lot I can do as Pxxx Off has been sewn up like a kipper !   Best let him do the “total expose” if the press will run with it.   Suggest he writes to Simon Kirby MP who is the guy arranging for the oral evidence to be taken at the Parliamentary hearings to be held sometime in march/April.SK used to run a small pub chain in Brighton.He knows what he is doing !
Potboy South.

 

Hi Pxxx Off,

I am attaching my colleagues response to my email and hopefully you will not take it the wrong way.   Please write to Simon Kirby MP detailing your experiences and possibly Greg Mulholland MP, we are fed up with people being screwed on a TAW, especially with little or no details of what they can expect from the lease in terms of financial arrangements.   Their usual ploy is to let them get their children into school, spend a load of money on the place, then deliver an ultimatum on a lease with unsustainable trading conditions.   I will be delighted to publish your experience under a nom de plume, unfortunately I can’t print the Pub Co details, but it serves to make the readers suspect all the bad Pub Co’s.   There are some decent companies, at the moment the only ones that we would recommend are in the South, if that will help, the other thing unless you have a free of tie lease from anything other than Pub owning company, it is worth considering, if the rent makes sense.   In these dodgy times I would prefer a tenancy with a decent Brewer and I am not getting too many of those recommended, my apologies for not having more to put forward.   This doesn’t really answer your problem, for which I apologise, but my initial thoughts and still are get out before you lose serious money if you can, there are decent companies out there, if you find one anywhere please let me know
Barfly, ——————————–

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