Saturday, November 22, 2008

We are at the foothills, there is still a long way to go.

I have run my business honestly and squarely and have never made a substantial profit at my pub in thirteen years. If I had been free of tie, as the lease was advertised as coming free in 1998, conservatively I would have made 30K or more profit each year for over a decade. With that profit I would have invested in the premises and made the business busier, and made more profit and so on.

Making comment about this might even prejudice the case of my 2005 rent review. But frankly I do not care any more. I've been bullied and terrorised and terrified for too long now by my pubco and their coterie of surveyors and industry 'experts and professionals' who have been raking a relaxed easy parasitical living on the back of hard working lessees.

As it is now I'm still waiting for the outcome of the rent review. The arbitrator's been six months since the high court instructed him to make a recalculation of the award and still has not found time to consider this matter. I have it on good advice that the arbitrator is in contempt of court. The arbitration act 1996 states that an arbitrator should respond in full to the instructions of a high court within three months of the ruling's date. The hearing was May 19 2008.
We thought it would be a precedental case. We thought it was likely that, instead of being made bankrupt as a result of the pubcos aggressive rent review and the arbitrator's tacit and surreal agreement that a completely unsustainable 20% rent increase was reasonable and in line with what the 'Fair Maintainable Trade' of the pub should be - 18% higher than the income the real tenant generates i.e. me. How DARE these industry lackeys decide rents that actually bankrupt people? How DARE they - people like Martin Willis - say, decide, dictate, in their haughty, pseudo academic 'expert' chartered rarity that lessees should find impossible amounts of money to pay to rich corporations while living in personal penury. Waiting for the BDM to turn up in a company car with a boot full of freebie products for home consumption and insult them with their platitudes and pontification on how to run their business? This industry is a bad joke that has become a real nightmare for thousands and a roller coaster of profit for a few.

It's November - six months have passed since the high dourt instructed him and unless Mr Solomon hasn't noticed - he is IN CONTEMPT OF COURT. Being in CONTEMPT of Court for an arbitrator clearly isn't an issue is it? There's no where else higher to go than an arbitrator so, quite evidently they can do whatever the hel;l they like and nothing's going to happen. He's had other pressing professional commitments and has not been able to find the time to look at my case... (no time at £350 an hour - more than I earn in a week) The most recent thing that is getting in the way is that he has been called to do jury service. Well I assume there will be more alacrity in decision making at other people's expense in that court. Unless his tardiness influences the outcome to the extent that the case cannot be resolved and the jury is required to remain on hand for several months, or years even.

I'm a lessee who runs a small business for goodness sake. This sort of thing is completely unacceptable - for anyone to have to go through. And the only reason I've had to go through it is because I had the balls to stand up to a pubco. I had the balls but I didn't have any real choice did I? If I'd accepted their rent review I'd have been bankrupt three years ago. And I'm still here trading. Up to my neck in debt already and still with a strong possibility that I'll find myself owing a bunch of thieving barstewards 100 grand in back rent and punitive fees.

How is anyone supposed to survive this kind of onslaught? How is anyone supposed to accept, as RICS qualified appointed arbitrators and surveyors do, that somehow this situation is 'fair'? How can the people who run this industry from the top down to the bottom not see just how ridiculous their actions are? How can they not see that their actions have been DESTROYING an industry, a heritage, a way of life, our culture? All for short term lining their own pockets - lining the pockets of everyone in the industry except those who actually pull the pints and talk to the punters.

It's wrong. And it's because of the way pubcos have run their feifdoms - and learned that they can do anything they like no matter how amoral and underhand and get away with it.

There's a line I like in a Snowpatrol song: "I'm glad it has taken me so long; it's the journey that's made me so strong".

No comments:

Post a Comment