In a survey run and released by the Forum of British Pubs across their membership, 9 out of 10 Star Pubs and Bars (Star) tenants report that despite the fine imposed by the Pubs Code Adjudicator in October 2020 on Star, there has been no improvement in the way that they treat their tenant landlords.
The lack of improvement is likely to drive an exodus of landlords from their tenancies in the relative near term.
More than half of the respondents had had tenancies with other operators, and 8 out of 10 reported that they would not recommend Star to friends.
Worrying for Star is that 40% of those who responded have their tenancies due for renewal in the next 12 months, and over half of the sample said that they would either terminate or seek to move to a Market Rent Only (MRO) arrangement.
However, whilst the MRO option is being considered by a sizeable proportion of tenants, two thirds acknowledged that they didn’t fully understand the way that an MRO works. Notwithstanding this the behaviour exhibited by Star when tenant landlords raise the prospect of moving to an MRO has been broadly hostile, with over half stating that they received a negative response, and over 50% of those that did press ahead with it had to wait over 9 months for the new lease to go through.
A key area of dissatisfaction has revolved around repairs too.
Two thirds of landlords who were successful in persuading Star to undertake repairs were unhappy with the quality, with 80% calling back Star to address remediations, albeit that more than half of the time such remediations took over 6 months to put right.
Speaking on behalf of the Forum of British Pubs, Dave Mountford commented,
“The fact that the vast majority of Star landlords report that, despite the fine imposed on Star just over twelve months ago, there has been no improvement in the way that they treat their tenants, and it supports the truly appalling cases we are seeing.
In particular the negative way in which they respond to tenants’ requests to move to MRO arrangements continues to be unacceptable. The onus is on the Pubcos to educate tenants on the options open to them, and it is clear that Star far from meet the requirements on them to do so. We will be bringing the outputs of this important survey to the attention of the Pubs Code Adjudicator and the newly formed All Parliamentary Tenanted Pub Group”