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Freehold, Leasehold or Tenancy

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Tied or Free of Tie?

What are the differences?

What is a Freehold

You own the outright ownership of the property and business. A freehold is almost always "free of tie" which means that the owner can buy beer and all other supplies from wherever he/she chooses.

A freeholder can receive substantial discounts from his suppliers, making him competitive in the market place. Higher profits enables him to effectively service his mortgage interest repayments.

A purchaser can normally borrow up to around two thirds to three quarters of the purchase price on mortgage as the freehold property offers a good security for a loan.

What is a Leasehold?Back to Top

You have the right to occupy a property for a fixed term of years (sold a going concern)

There are effectively two kinds of lease:

If you are successful in your lease you can sell on the 'goodwill' on the open market. However if you fail the business the business may have to be sold at a substantial loss or, at worst, surrendered back to the Landlord for little or no payment.

Your Lease will be subject to many conditions:

Obligation to comply with all the terms and conditions of the lease in order to stay in possession.

You will pay an agreed rent.

If the lease is assignable it means they can be sold in the open market almost like freehold, subject to the new purchaser being approved by the Landlord.

Where a Lease is not 'free of tie' the lessee (tenant) is obliged to purchase a specified range of products (usually all or most of its beers and lagers and in some cases alcopops) from the lessor / landlord or its nominated supplier. This normally requires the lessee (tenant) to buy beer at "list price".

What is a Tenancy? Back to Top

Tenancy is one of the most established and traditional ways of running a pub.

Normally short term agreement (initially 1-3 years), often with the tenant having the right to continue as tenant from year to year (sometimes referred to as a 'rolling' or 'evergreen' agreement) under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954.

A tenancy is valued on its fixtures and fittings, (trade inventory).

Tenancies are not assignable. Tenants cannot sell on any business interest at a profit (goodwill). When a tenant is ready to leave then he will have his fixtures and fittings re-valued and surrenders the tenancy to the Landlord. The tenant will be paid the new valuation, including stock and glassware.

Tied or Free of Tie? Back to Top

Freehold pubs are usually "Freehouses" meaning that they are free to deal with suppliers of there own choice. Good discounts can result in greatly improved "bottom line" profit.

If the freehouse needed refurbishment/improvements then some owners might search out a brewery loan. This could result in him becoming tied during the loan's duration. Brewery loans should be at lower rates than a bank loan and the pub owner might obtain larger discounts.

Some leases are also free of tie, whereby the lessee has the same freedom to negotiate terms with suppliers and obtain good discounts. As this should result in a greatly improved "bottom line" profit, the market value of the lease could also be higher.