Thursday, February 21, 2008

This refers to this article in the Morning Advertiser:

What a joke this industry is. Win win. Gah! What utter tosh. Can you imagine being Roxy and getting the rent increase letter? I bet anyone who’s not a surveyor or a PubCo employee can empathise with Roxy at that moment. Expecting an increase yes. But MORE THAN DOUBLE the rent you’re paying already? I say it again; what a bloody joke this industry is. People in this industry simply accept that this kind of assault on an individual’s business is just a matter of course because it’s so common. And the landlord usually gets away with it. In this case they didn’t, quite. But they still got a £13,000 ‘uplift’. That seems a pretty bloody big increase to me on a ‘tiny’ pub’s rent. What did the landlord do to deserve that increase? Apart from own the property? Sweet Fanny Adams it used to be called.

Someone spends 100K on a property that isn’t theirs, works their butt off for years, improving business, investing their heart and soul and sweat in making it theirs then big bad landlord comes along, having done NOTHING to the property and, having noticed the apparent success of the business, thinks ‘we’ll have that’ and casually drops off an envelope effectively saying “Thank you very much. You’re doing great guns. We’re going to take it all away from you – forever”.

Ok so in this case the PubCo didn't manage to bulldoze its way to getting the crippling rent increase it usually would have done. Roxy took a deep breath, risked everything she’s ever had, and stood up to the landlord and fought hard. And came off a lot better than if she hadn’t – presumably she can stay to fight another day but at what real cost to her and her business?

The article doesn’t go into detail about the case. What kind of P&L did the PubCo invent that supported their rent expectation? How long did it take to get to arbitration? How long after the review date did it run? How much back rent is owed? Presumably there was a Calderbank or two involved? What kind of stress did Roxy have to endure before finding out her rent was only going to go up £1,083 a month? (how much are your monthly mortgage repayments, pubco employees?) And in the end the very objective, hands off RICS appointed arbitrator (who probably charges £300 an hour) still put the rent up 33%. And there are many people in this industry who reckon that’s OK? That everyone came off well? What planet do they come from?

Objectively this is hardly justice. In reality it’s a whitewash with a hint of rosy glow. Enterprise will be spitting through broken teeth.

And all the big PubCo’s will be thinking ‘well we got away with it again this time but the game is definitely up’.

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