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Pubs group agrees to rent delay for tenanted pubs during coronavirus lockdown

PUBLISHED: 11:29 01 April 2020 | UPDATED: 11:59 01 April 2020

Greene King has put in place some measures to help its tenants  Picture: BECKY HAYWOOD

Greene King has put in place some measures to help its tenants Picture: BECKY HAYWOOD

Greene King

Pubs giant Greene King has stressed its commitment to its tenanted pubs – but has stopped short of confirming a complete cancellation of rent during the coronavirus crisis.

Greene King was bought recently by Hong Kong real estate giant CKA  Picture: PA IMAGESGreene King was bought recently by Hong Kong real estate giant CKA Picture: PA IMAGES

Pub groups including Southwold-based Adnams, Admiral Taverns and Fullers have agreed to cancel rent for their pub tenants during the lockdown, earning praise from not-for-profit consumer lobby group the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

The government has already made clear that businesses affected by the crisis shouldn’t be evicted for non-payment of rent during the crisis but has yet to make any commitment to compensating landlords.

MORE – East Anglian retail chain closes ‘with heavy heart’ due to coronavirus crisis

However, Adnams, which owns pubs in Suffolk, says it will stop charging its pub tenants rent during the coronavirus pandemic, cancelling rent from March 17 for the foreseeable future.

Its chief executive, Andy Wood said it was “the right thing to do”.

A Greene King spokesman pointed out that the Bury St Edmunds-based group had stepped in early to support its tenanted pubs by allowing them to delay rental payments and alleviating their cashflow concerns.

The company has also said it would clear away old kegs and casks from the pubs and give them free replacement beer once the lockdown is over.

“This is a very difficult time for the pubs industry as a whole and we’re all having to make tough decisions to ensure future viability of all our businesses,” he said.

“By being one of the first pub companies to delay rent entirely from the outset we removed any immediate cashflow concerns for our partners.

“We are committed to supporting our partners throughout this crisis and told them earlier this last week that we will replace all their unopened, out-of-date kegs and casks with fresh stock for free when they reopen.”

CAMRA is calling on pub owning companies to cancel rents for licensees during the crisis.

National chairman Nik Antona said deferring rental payments until a later date “simply doesn’t go far enough”.

“CAMRA welcomes the move by businesses such as Admiral Taverns and Fullers to cancel rent for their pub tenants in recognition of the unique circumstances we are in,” he said.

“We are now calling on other pub owning businesses to follow those examples and listen to the concerns of tenants, and of pubgoers who want their locals to survive this crisis.”

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