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My Area Manager/Business Development Manager says I do not need a building survey on the pub


A very common comment we have from our clients is that their Area Manager or Business Development Manager says that they do not need a building survey on the pub.  There are a variety of reasons to need a building survey on a pub and we would add that after our clients have had a building survey carried out they then come back and thank us, as they then understand why a building survey is needed.

This article is so that you can tactfully advise your Area Manager or Business Development Manager or whoever the Breweries or Pub Leasing companies are using to have your own building survey as it is such an important decision that you need to have an independent survey of your own.


Argument for not having a pub building survey

The Area Managers or Business Development Managers for the brewery or pub leasing company will argue that there is no need to have a structural survey as the property has been standing for hundreds of years and is still standing and is not likely to fall down in the near future!  Whilst this is true what happens when you take on a pub in whatever form whether Managed House Tenancy or a Leased House or Freehold the repairs to the property affect you and your bottom line in one way or another.  It is best to know about any property issues before you take a step into running the business because you can run a pub, hotel, restaurant very well but if your property is forever requiring repairs you will very much hit the bottom line.


Beware of old Business Managers and old Area Managers from the brewing days

Another problem is that there are still Area Managers and Business Development Managers about from the days when breweries were breweries where selling beer meant the brewery would repair the pub on the old Tenancy Agreement whether it was or was not the pub managers/landlords responsibility.  We find that some managers in the brewing companies in particular still live in this world. 


Dilapidations being served

Unfortunately matters have changed considerably and we as a surveying practice have seen a considerable dilapidations served on leaseholders and on one particular case only a few months after our client moved into the pub. 


We have written many articles about Dilapidations which may help you with this often difficult situation

Dilapidations the negotiation

A-Z of Dilapidations

Interim Dilapidations



The importance of a Schedule of Condition

It is very difficult to help a pub owner/lessee when they did not have a Schedule of Condition and a Property Report carried out before they moved into the business.  We have seen Schedules of Dilapidations becoming the norm and in fact many of the big pub leasing companies have sub-contracted their Dilapidations work out to commercial Surveyors who do not understand the history and the background of the brewing business and simply treat the pub as another commercial property that they are serving a Dilapidations on. 


Dilapidations claims

Having said this there is also a Management decision we would say with Dilapidations being served as some of the Dilapidations we have seen being served are what we term as very light and miss numerous items.  We do not know if this practice is bad surveying with the pressure of having to survey too many pubs or a management decision to ensure that the existing lessee/tenant moves out of the property without too much pain without going bankrupt and move the new lessee/tenant/manager move in and bring life back to the pub and increase the beer sales and food sales etc and the general profitability of the pub and then they serve Dilapidations.


Interim Dilapidations

You can of course be served what is known as Interim Dilapidations, which are Dilapidations throughout the term of the Tenancy Agreement which can come a shock to some lease holders particularly if they believe that they are doing well and particularly if they believe they are getting next to no help from the brewery/pub leasing company.


There is no reason why a pub leasing company/brewery will not serve a Dilapidations claim on you

We need to dispel the rumour that Dilapidations is optional whilst the pub/brewery company could decide not to serve a Dilapidations claim we cannot think of any reason why they would not as the leaseholder/manager/tenant/tenancy holder pays for the honour of having their Surveyor and their Solicitor produce a Dilapidations report.  Equally if you argue about the Dilapidations report they can then charge you further for the Surveyor’s and Solicitor’s time which is why you need to preempt this problem and have a Schedule of Condition carried out on the property together with a Property Report/Structural Survey.


What is a Schedule of Condition on a Public House?

This is where you have a photographic record carried out of the property together with a written record of the condition of the property.  In addition to this we would always add an Action Required column and are the only Surveyors that we know that include this.  The Action Required column we add for a very specific reason which we will enlarge upon if you phone us on free phone 0800 298 5424 as we believe that the Action Required column saves people thousands of pounds if not tens of thousands of pounds over the years.


Free Property Report / Structural Survey

We will always with our Schedule of Condition provide a Property Report, which is a structural survey type document where we identify the main issues for you to be considered about/negotiate on.  This is like one friend talking to another friend who understands and knows about property and gives you guidance on what areas in particular to negotiate on and receive reductions on costs, reductions in rents and some other form of discount.


Regardless of what the leasing pub companies and breweries say they will negotiate

We hear time and time again that the pub companies and leasing pub companies will not negotiate on their leases.  This is not true.  We can give you many examples where the pub companies and leasing pub companies have negotiated and can give you examples where they have carried out repairs major and minor and can give you examples where they have excluded sections from the leases. 

Remember with property everything is negotiable.


Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate with regard to your pub/hotel/restaurant

The best single piece of advice we can give you, apart from instructing an Independent Building Surveyor, is to know and understand that you can negotiate, negotiate and negotiate further with regard to property.  You can negotiate on the price on the work required, on the repairs required and again negotiate and again until you are happy with what you get or you decide to walk away.  If you do not start off with the right property at the right price with the lease at the right price under the right terms with a Schedule of Condition legally appended to the lease then you often will then find you have an uphill struggle.