Accountancy

 

For accountancy, we would like to highlight the services of Fairmile Accountancy.

They have huge experience in the licensed trade and really do specialise in pub, bar, and restaurants.

If you would like to get in touch please download their brochure here or contact us here and we will be happy to put you in touch

 

Upwards Only Rent Reviews

A double post on the same issue, the removal of Upwards Only Rent Review clauses from commercial lease or tenancy agreements.

For those pubs who have longer-term leases, the landlord will often have the option of reviewing the rent, but the reviewed rent will only increase or at best, stay the same.  This means that you could be stuck with an artificially inflated rent that bears no relationship to market levels in a post-pandemic or recession business landscape. In 2003, Australia passed a law to outlaw this practice as it was seen as exploitative.  Ireland followed in 2010 by producing a similar ban.  We believe that it is time the UK followed suit and our colleagues at the Commercial Tenants Association (the CTA) are spearheading a campaign to abolish this practice in the UK as well. Parliament has begun debating a new bill which at the time of writing was at second reading.

There are two ways in which you can help, firstly as part of the evidence-gathering exercise, the CTA has put together a short survey that will help to identify just how widespread the issue is and the most vulnerable businesses to this kind of practice. We would be grateful if you could spend a few minutes completing the survey HERE

Secondly please download our template letter and send it to your MP to help support the new bill. Upwards-Only-Template

 

Thanks

PAS

Falling GP rising sales

G.I.F.T Blog – April Update

Drinks Pricing…

 

In this time of soaring utility costs, it has never been more important to regularly review our cost of drinks purchases.

G.I.F.T. (Growing Independent Free Trade) Drinks Buying Group is constantly negotiating prices on behalf of hundreds of pub and club members.

 

Are you paying more than? :

 

Fosters x 11 gls          £89

Carlsberg x 11 gls      £82

Stella x 10 gls              £93

San Miguel x 11 gls    £106

Guinness x 11 gls       £127

Smirnoff Red 1.5L      £23

 

If so, it may be a good time to contact us at G.I.F.T.

 

 

Click HERE to get in contact and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

This is a guest blog written by G.I.F.T for Pubs Advisory Service.

 

 

BUSINESS CRISIS – CONSIDERATIONS

BUSINESS CRISIS

Who does this apply to:

Business Owners who operate under a commercial tenancy or lease, and through no fault of their own are not able to break even or have overwhelming debts following the effects of the pandemic.

 

Changes

The business now has a risk and reward profile that is unbalanced and far removed from the original business plan and investment entered into by the parties.

Changes in trade and consumer habits which have for some become entrenched and long term (no swift return to normal) mean there is no longer any reward and staying open simply adds more risk via business debt. Sometimes this is exacerbated by the short length of a lease or tenancy agreement. Without grants of write-offs, the business will never be able to pay its way out of this situation.

One of the most acute situations businesses in crisis need to avoid getting into in a post-pandemic world is one whereby the business owner bends over backward to clear debts and build back sales only to have the property owner end the agreement at the breakpoint or by using an existing forfeiture clause. The business owner runs the risk of locking in no reward for years to come and is simply working to pay off unplanned debts to the landlord or bank which was never the intention of the business.

Businesses run a huge risk of sleepwalking into this problem and end up as zombie companies or businesses. That is to say, no one is bringing the situation to a close, so it carries on unable to make a profit or return for the owners. The capital and labour are increasingly tied up in performing a pointless operation of debt repayment / deleverage which could carry on for years to come. Risk and reward are not balanced and, unable to be balanced unless there is huge write-off, insurance pay-outs or new waves of grant support.

The standoff businesses face could be ended by one of three parties acting:

  1. Business tenant
  2. Property owning Landlord (either lease end or forfeiture)
  3. Third-Party (i.e. HMRC / Council / Supplier / Utilities / Bank)

Only one is in your control.

The others could pull the plug, but for many reasons choose not to, usually because it will crystalise their losses as well and when facing their own crisis prefer to stand back and watch. Be careful not to spend years paying off debt only to have the plug pulled, focus on ensuring that any plan you follow gives you a reward.

Landlords are clearly not compelled to enter non-contractual processes not outlined in the lease; they could simply hold you to the terms you signed up to. If they are going to take a hard-line approach and refuse to share in the effects of the pandemic, you need to know asap, or will face racking up more debts waiting to learn about their intentions.

 

What alternative options exist?

 

Fate, you can take your chances and wait and see if your landlord simply forgives you the rent you owe them and or waives any rights to forfeit your agreement. This is usually how firms end up trading on as zombie companies.

Closure, agree on a formal surrender, if you are considering abandoning the premises without agreement do note that this might not stop the debts from accruing. It is advisable to try and get a surrender agreed.

Take insolvency action in the courts to ringfence debts – if you enter an IVA or CVA you should note the Insolvency can affect lease rights or other commercial relationships you hold i.e. with your bank or suppliers. Insolvency is expensive and inflexible, (say) the situation changes for the better you cannot change the arrangement and are stuck with it for the duration.

Consider a different form of arbitrationfor example, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators offers a fixed fee service for parties under its Pandemic Business Dispute Resolution Service.

Consider a one-off full and final settlement (i.e., a lump sum offer – may not be affordable).

Make a “family arrangement” or propose a debt plan to your landlord including any other creditors that you owe money (these are flexible, affordable plans and low cost to set up). These can provide breathing space and leave you free to change your mind and try something else later. See https://www.twinpier.co.uk/

 

Contact trade-specific charities to access any benevolent funds/grants.

 

They can help with moving costs, deposits, retraining, and paying for bankruptcy.

Licensed Trade Charity (pubs etc): https://www.licensedtradecharity.org.uk/

Hospitality Action: https://www.hospitalityaction.org.uk/

Retail Trade Charity: https://www.retailtrust.org.uk/

Further support can be found here: https://www.turn2us.org.uk/Get-Support

 

Live on-site

For those who live “above” the business or on-site, if you have nowhere to live when the business ends then you should contact your local council and apply to the homelessness unit.

https://www.gov.uk/homelessness-help-from-council

Take advice before going bankrupt especially if you are doing it before securing any new housing, the effect of bankruptcy could be seen by the council as you are making yourself intentionally homeless. Bankruptcy can always wait until after your housing situation is secure.

Grants for Hospitality & Leisure (Omicron)

Grants update, the latest support grants for hospitality businesses.

Note claims cannot exceed the subsidy allowances below:-

  • Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance –up to £335,000 over any rolling period of 3 financial years
  • COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance is up to £1,900,000
  • COVID-19 Business Grant Special Allowance if you have reached the allowance limits under the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance and COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance, you may be able to access a further allowance of funding under these scheme rules of up to £10,000,000 across all COVID-19 Business Grant schemes

Therefore grants can be combined to make a total allowance of up to £12,235,000

Check if you’re eligible for the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant HERE

There is also a discretionary fund, this is targeted at businesses that are severely impacted by the restrictions and the rise of the Omicron variant, your local councils can determine the eligibility criteria for these grants. Councils are advised to consider applications from businesses who were;

  • Not eligible for other Grant schemes (e.g. LRSG and CBLP Grant schemes)
  • Businesses severely impacted by the rise of the Omicron variant
  • That may have been severely impacted by restrictions but were not eligible for the Restart Grant scheme, and those sectors that remained closed or were severely impacted by extended restrictions, even if those businesses had already been in receipt of Restart Grants

 

#ukpubs

Check and Challenge Pub Rateable Value

We get asked a lot where you can find the rateable value for a pub.

The link to the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) website is here

If you want to raise a challenge you need to “claim” the business first, in which case you need to follow the process here

If you are stuck and need help in raising a challenge we can assist, see our VOA service here

The Code Adjudicator model

A legal study by two academics, Dr Jed Meers and Dr Liz Hind, have highlighted many problems in the Governments pubs code and adjudicator service.

The report shows that a key reason for reform (level the playing field / arms-length transactions) has been overlooked.
Further that the Scottish Pubs Code has a far better prospect of delivering reform for tied pubs.

To download your copy of the report click HERE

For those affected, we would ask that you send a copy to your MP and ask them to write to the business minister and request that the English and Welsh Pubs Code (which is under review) matches the Scottish pub’s code.

PAS

Zeal Blog July Update

Shine a light on the untapped savings hidden in your pub.

Did you know? There are some tax reliefs that are so specialist even your accountant is not able to claim for you… Embedded Capital Allowances Tax Relief is one of them!

As one of the best kept secrets in property tax, 80% of business owners don’t realise that UK tax legislation entitles them to claim a specialist tax relief on the ‘Embedded Fixtures’ that were in the premises at the time it was purchased. Essentially, if you paid £100,000+ for your puband pay tax in the UK, it’s highly likely you’re missing out onthese tax savings. It doesn’t matter how long ago the property was purchased.

What are embedded fixtures?

Qualifying embedded fixtures include electrical, heating and ventilation systems, water pipework and drainage, kitchens and bathrooms, carpets, alarms and much more. In other words, if you were able to turn your building upside down, it is the fixtures and fittings in the fabric of the building which did not fall out that would qualify. Watch this short video to find out more: (https://bit.ly/3tAJlVq).

How much could a claim be worth?

By claiming this specialist tax incentive, significant tax savings and repayments can be achieved. For pub owners, typically between 20%-30% of the costs spent to buy, refurbish or build the property can be reclaimed in tax relief. Your pub could be sat on an average of £25,000, plus, you could also be entitled to an immediate cash tax rebate for tax you didn’t know you had overpaid.

Why wouldn’t my accountant have claimed this?

Due to the complex nature of this tax legislation, identifying qualifying expenditure requires a technical site survey and expert tax knowledge. It’s an area often misunderstood or overlooked by a generalist accountant.

Sounds too good to be true?

At Pubs Advisory Service, we are working with Zeal to help pub owners shine a light on these hidden untapped savings. Zealprovide a RISK-FREE service with NO upfront fees, charge fees 50% lower than other firms and offer a free property survey (typically charged at £999+) to determine your entitlement to claim.

For a free consultation to find out if you qualify, click HERE to fill in a contact form.

 

Commercial Rent Debt Arbitration

Commercial Rent Debt update – New Legislation and Arbitration.

  • Legislation will be introduced in this session of parliament to ringfence outstanding unpaid rent that has built up when a business has had to remain closed during the pandemic. Landlords are expected to make allowances for the ringfenced rent arrears from these specific periods of closure due to the pandemic, and share the financial impact with their tenants.
  • The new arbitration process will be underpinned by law, providing commercial tenants and landlords with peace of mind that Covid-related rent debts will be settled fairly, and with finality.

We are launching a new service to help those with commercial debt, you can learn more and pre-register for the service on the following page.

Click HERE