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Pubs Code Adjudicator Service

The Pubs Code came into force on 21 July 2016 and applies to all businesses owning 500 or more tied pubs in England and Wales. An important part of this is the introduction of the option for tied tenants to request a market rent only option.

About the Pubs Code

Pubs Code came into force on 21 July 2016 and applies to all businesses owning 500 or more tied pubs in England and Wales.

The Code supports underlying principles:

  • fair and lawful dealing by pub-owning businesses in relation to their tied tenants
  • a tied pub tenant (TPT) should be no worse off than if they were not subject to any tie

The code entitles a TPT to:

  • receive certain information to make informed decisions about taking on a pub or new terms and conditions
  • have their rent reassessed and receive a rent assessment proposal in certain circumstances, including if they haven’t had a review (or rent assessment proposal) for 5 years
  • request a market rent only (MRO) option (to go free of tie and pay only a market rent) in specific circumstances, including at a rent review or renewal of tenancy

A TPT in England and Wales has the right to take disputes about the Code to the independent Pubs Code Adjudicator. Paul Newby is the independent Pubs Code Adjudicator (PCA) appointed to oversee the operation of the Pubs Code. 

For further information about the pubs code you can visit the PCA website.

Independent Assessors

Where a TPT serves a MRO Notice, the pub-owning business has provided a MRO compliant proposal and the parties are negotiating the MRO rent, the TPT has a right to request that the MRO rent be referred to an Independent Assessor for determination (within a specified period). The parties must seek to agree the appointment of an Independent Assessor themselves within 28 days or inform the PCA of their failure to appoint. In such cases where the parties have failed to appoint an Independent Assessor themselves the PCA will, within 14 days, appoint an Independent Assessor for the parties.

An Independent Assessor must meet the criteria specified by the PCA (whether appointed by the parties or the PCA).

Criteria, and a list of Independent Assessors that meet the PCA’s specified criteria, can be viewed on the PCA website.

Pub companies currently covered by the Pubs Code are:

  • Marston’s PLC
  • Admiral Taverns Ltd
  • Ei Group PLC (formerly Enterprise Inns PLC)
  • Greene King PLC
  • Star Pubs and Bars (Heineken UK)
  • Punch Taverns PLC

Contact the DRS team

  • RICS Dispute Resolution Service
    55 Colmore Row
    Birmingham
    B3 2AA
  • Call: +44 (0) 20 7334 3806
  • Email us

How is RICS DRS involved?

RICS DRS have worked with the Pubs Code Adjudicator to provide a suitable process for the appointment of an Independent Assessor. If you are unable to agree an independent assessor within the specified 28 days, you are required to notify the PCA who will appoint an Independent Assessor following a recommendation from RICS Dispute Resolution Services.

Where an appointment is made by the PCA, the appointed Independent Assessor will be subject to an agreed set fee structure as follows:

The Independent Assessor fee basis is banded based on the current annual rental value of the pub:

  • Rental value is £25,000 or less the Independent assessor will charge no more than £3,000
  • Rental value is between £25,001 to £50,000 the Independent assessor will charge no more than £4,000
  • Rental value is between £50,001 to £75,000 the Independent assessor will charge no more than £5,000
  • Rental value is £75,001 or greater the Independent assessor will charge no more than £6,000

Please note that if you privately appoint an Independent Assessor from the list available these fees may differ. 

In cases where a settlement is reached after an Independent Assessor has been appointed, but before a determination is made, an abortive fee may be payable. The parties should agree any such abortive fees with the appointed Independent Assessor.