Sneak Thief Landlords and Pub Survival is a story of viral contamination which could threaten our pub heritage in 2020. Whilst we are all looking in one direction, the sneak thief steals behind our backs and robs us of something we treasure.
Today, 14th April 2020, as we are all in lock-down due to COVID 19, our attention may well be drawn elsewhere. Perhaps the future of our pubs takes less precedence in our thoughts than the well-being of our families and the future of our society.
This is the moment that the sneak thief lives for and thrives in.
Who is this creature of low cunning we are discussing here?
We are looking at the most unappealing animal in the fauna of humanity, a scavenger who cares not how smelly the deed of his consumption is. A vulture whose scraggy neck and ugly face means nothing to him as long as he can decorate himself in glittering feathers. A beast for whom culture, history, tradition even the well-being of society and the companionship of friends are as nothing when compared to the stinking smell of money.
We are talking about the property developer who buys our pubs with dishonest intent.
These creeping and crawling infestations of our economy will purchase a public house, deliberately set out to ruin the community business and the life of landlord and the family within. They eat into our historic fabric like cultural woodworm so that they can fatten their bank account and drink blueberry fruited craft beers at £10 a pint.
Inhabiting a world in which they are the centre of all things, they lie and cheat and steal believing in the idea that they are a winner in life.
As you can see, I may possess a small bias in my words here but this was born in having to deal with one of these animals myself. He arrived in a top of the range BMW, shiny black Italian shoes and a smile which would make a baby giggle. He promised fairness, a sense of balanced consideration and a stated adherence to professionalism. He offered a price ten times below value because as he smiled you could see him thinking that the long-haired scruff and his Asian wife or partner or whatever the hell she was would prove no match for his charm and deceit.
What cost him dearly was that he spoke only to me, the scruffy man, ignoring the woman, the little, unattractive Asian, as he promised everything and offered robbery. Unsurprisingly, it is the little Asian woman who is the business brains in our marriage. In light of his misogyny, she promised, after he had left, that she would make him pay a costly premium for his insult and so he had to. You see, intelligence is not the main facet of these creatures, their senses are dominated by selfish greed.
In such greed, we find ourselves under threat from the selfish sneak thief landlords and it may well be a matter of pub survival we need to be aware of.
Property Developers and Pubs is something I have already written about but this is more of a warning to all to be alert in our current situation.
What has drawn attention is an article on the BBC web site today:
Gyms face legal action over rent
You may well be scratching your head at this point and wonder what Gyms and bile about property developers has to do with pubs.
Well, it is all revealed by one line within this article:
“UKActive said it expects the first cases to start this week and warned that pubs, restaurants, cafes, cinemas, and retailers could face similar threats.”
Journalist Simon Read reports that unscrupulous landlords are using the COVID 19 tragedy to help line their pockets with more cash by evicting Gym businesses across the country from their premises. He states that:
“Trade body UKActive said urgent action is needed to safeguard exercise venues as unscrupulous landlords use a loophole to threaten eviction.”
Unscrupulous landlords is a term which has worn out the tongue of many a CAMRA member and blighted the conversation of communities across the country. Turning pubs into flats, property development, is usually the evidence of activity by unscrupulous landlords. Read goes on to say that:
“New rules to protect commercial tenants were introduced last month.But they don’t prevent landlords from taking steps to force tenants to pay rent withheld because of the lockdown.”
A worrying number have decided to pursue statutory demand notices or winding-up orders,” said Huw Edwards, chief executive of UKActive
Section 82 of the government’s Coronavirus Act 2020 came into force on 25 March to help protect commercial tenants. It banned the forfeiture of commercial leases until 30 June 2020 – or longer if the government deems necessary – for non-payment of rent.
However, the Act does not prevent landlords from taking certain actions, including Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR), making a debt claim, issuing a statutory demand, or commencing winding-up proceedings – each of which is lethal to businesses with no income.”
This set off the alarm bells because it looked like sneak thief landlords could jump onto this bandwagon and seek to turn a local into the rich pickings of domestic accommodation.
Let’s step back here and wonder for a second if this is likely to happen? Have you thought about it? What do you think?
Sneak Thief Landlords and Pub Survival
Maybe it is time to write to your MP? If you have any spare time on your hands at the moment then your views may well be a much-needed front in our struggle against the beaks of the raucous vultures ripping at the body of our pub heritage.
Take a moment and voice your concerns. As you can see, I have begun already. Please, if you feel this article is worth seeing, then share it around on all the media you can. We cannot afford to turn our backs on these sneak thieves.
If you have some time on your hands at the moment and fancy a good read then why not get “The Old Scrapbook”.
This is more than a book about pub history, it presents the reader with a puzzle and a 1950s archive of British Pub History to delve into.
How we look at images and analyse content is a skill which sometimes seems forgotten in our age of selfies. “The Old Scrapbook” takes us into a world where every picture really does tell a story and in each tale there lies a small mystery.