Punch verifies Code compliance to provide rent proposals to new tenants

The Pubs Code Adjudicator (PCA) has today provided an update on action it has required Punch Pubs to take to verify its Code compliance with its statutory duty to provide rent proposals to new tenants.

In July 2021, the PCA published a Pubs Code Action Story to explain that it had received a Pubs Code arbitration award, from which it appeared Punch Pubs had failed to recognise its statutory duty to provide a rent proposal to new tied tenants.

Following contact from the PCA, Punch Pubs confirmed that it now recognised this is a statutory duty under regulation 15(7) of the Pubs Code.

The PCA then required assurance that the Code Compliance Officer (CCO) understood how tenants were affected by this issue and what steps needed to be taken in response. This included being transparent with affected tenants and ensuring it was providing clear and accurate information about Code rights.

This is an update on actions the PCA has taken to ensure Punch Pubs’ CCO has verified its compliance with regulation 15(7) and all associated duties relating to the provision of a rent proposal.

Following the PCA’s intervention, Punch Pubs has:
• informed its tied estate of the status of rent proposals provided as part of taking on a new tied agreement
• conducted a compliance verification exercise across a sample of affected tenants
• updated its rent proposal template to provide clear confirmation that the proposal has been prepared in accordance with RICS guidance, as required by regulation 16(3)
• reviewed and updated its literature, communications, and processes for new tenants to ensure clarity on the status of the rent proposal and their Code rights
• carried out staff training to raise awareness of the Code requirements for rent proposals
• contacted the tenant in the affected arbitration case

These are the types of steps the PCA would expect a CCO to take proactively in response to compliance issues and for this to be reported to the PCA.

The PCA is pleased that the CCO has taken action to help identify the impact on tenants and reduce the risk of such issues arising in the future.

It remains open to the PCA to take any further action as necessary in relation to this matter.