Pub dispute at rent hike

Landlord Dave Mountford of The Rising Sun in Middleton-by-Wirskworth.
Landlord Dave Mountford of The Rising Sun in Middleton-by-Wirskworth.

A LANDLORD says he may be forced to leave his business because the pub owners have hiked his rent up by 60 per cent.

Dave Mountford, who has run the Rising Sun in Middleton-by-Wirksworth for four years, said the increase by Punch Taverns, the biggest pub company in the UK, would leave him with less than £10,000 per year to look after his family.

Punch has asked for a rent increase from £15,000 to £25,000 in June next year.

Over the past three years, Mr Mountford said he had tripled drinks sales at the pub.

He added: “They now make £85,000 per annum from the pub while we make £20,000.

“I was stunned when Punch announced an increase of 60 per cent.

“If the rent increases we will be left with around £10,000 a year to live on.

“I sat down and looked carefully at the figures they have provided and came to the conclusion they are inaccurate.

“We would not be able to stay if the rent went up. It would not be viable.”

Mr Mountford believes Punch has over-valued what he earns and had not included waste costs.

He contacted a list of 18 comparable pubs in the area provided by Punch.

“I phoned up these pubs and they nearly all said they are going out of business. A couple had just received eviction notices. The data showed they are paying much too much rent.”

Trade union GMB now plan to undertake a major survey of pub rents, incomes and costs.

A spokesperson from Punch Taverns said: “We have a Code of Practice that clearly outlines our ways of working and commitments to our licensees and explains what to expect when leasing a pub with Punch.

“The terms we have presented to Mr Mountford are in accordance with our Code of Practice and follow the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors’ guidelines. If we are unable to reach agreement with Mr Mountford, we will follow the provisions set out in our Code of Practice for dispute resolution.”