The second richest UK family-owned property company pays full rent to pub landlords for Coronavirus Lockdown



A property company owned by billionaire Reuben brothers is accused of pushing its pub tenants into bankruptcy by refusing a rent cut for the duration of the coronavirus lockdown.


David and Simon Reuben, worth $ 16 billion, are part of a consortium looking to buy Newcastle United, the Premier League football team that owns the Wellington Pub Company, which has 750 pubs, and "Ties' biggest claim" free property.

Wellington has demanded a full lease from some pub tenants who have been unable to do business since it had to close in March, and they fear it will fail until their bills are cut.

Nick Holden and Kate Ahrens have been running Wellington owners Geese and Fountain for nearly five years.

The bar doors have been closed for fourteen weeks. During the lockdown, the couple tried to sell food for take-off and delivery and ran virtual pub quizzes, but have been unable to pay rent since March.

Wellington is chasing Nick and Kate for the April, May and June fares, and tells them that they expect to pay rent in the next quarter - £ 25,000 they don't have.

"There's no money to pay that rent," says Nick Holden. It won't be until they demand the government to step in or pay for it with more grants. So we already fall. We are demons. We're trying to be a pub in away. But the accounts say we expect to pay more than we can afford. "

Joan Antique has run the Wellington-owned Kings Arms in Brentford for 36 years. When he and his sister took over the pub for the first time in 1984, they appeared on local ETV news.

On March 1, he paid thirteen weeks' rent until May 31st. The pub was forced to close after twenty days.

Wellington is refusing to pay him back for the period he was unable to do business and sent him an invoice for three months on rent on the 1st of June at the end of August. She refused to pay for it.

"I don't really understand. How can we pay rent when we have no income?" Antik told us. “I hope [Wellington] realizes that I really can’t.

According to the Sunday Times Rich List 2020, Reuben's brother, the owner of Wellington Pub Company, is the second richest person in the UK after James Dyson.

David and Simon Reuben were born in India and raised in London. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, he made a fortune through the Russian aluminum compound Trans World.

According to its website, in addition to pubs, Rebens has its own racecourse, hotels, data centers, and some prestigious properties in central London.

Rubens's "real estate holdings": Millbank Center and Millbank Tower; John Lewis headquarters near Victoria; And Burlington Arcade on Piccadilly.

The coronavirus outbreak damaged Rubens' fortune, but he remained a billionaire and in June he donated $ 80 million to fund a new college at Oxford University, known as the "Ruben College".

David and Simon Reuben are also supporting Amanda Staverley's attempt to acquire Newcastle United by PCP Capital Partners.

James Reuben, son of David Reuben, is a director of one of Wellington's holding companies. Last year he donated more than half a million pounds to the Conservative Party.

The queue between Rubens' tenants and his pub company intensified after the Prime Minister announced that some pubs and bars would reopen from July 4.

The government has recently expanded regulations designed to give businesses breathing space to pay off debts during a lockdown. In the case of PUBG, it has published a voluntary code to advise landlords and tenants on dispute resolution.

The Code states: "The landlord must be prepared to consider the reasonable case imposed by the tenant in such a crisis, and if the tenant can reasonably provide the tenant with some lien, the tenant can survive."

It adds: "Landlords who refuse to pay a concession should be clear with their tenants about why they are doing so. This means giving the tenant a reasonable explanation of their decision to provide information clearly."

The Wellington website states that the company "wants to provide our tenants with a 3-month lease-free period," but not to mention their efforts to reduce tenants or make vacation rentals safer.

On June 9, a tenant showed us an email from Rubens-owned Criterion Management, which manages the pub on behalf of Wellington. The email stated that "Wellington does not pay any rent for free."

Some tenants worry that their businesses will still struggle when they can open their doors again, and a Rubens-backed company may not understand that they are not willing to accept some of the risks to Huh.

"We're not asking [the ribbons] to go undetected," Nick Holden said. "They shouldn't get as much profit as they hoped this year." And asking may not be too much. "

In King's Arms, Jon is the oldest desperate.

"They (Rubens) are the most successful people I admire," he said. “Prabhu, I commend those who have won hard, but success comes with responsibility. I was successful in my own little way. They were so successful and they bought all these pubs. Eight hundred pubs. With that they bought my life and they were in charge ... I need help. "

A Wellington spokeswoman said: “Wellington has an obligation in the form of an independent business and securitization, for which quarterly payments must be made.

We can confirm that the lease is invoiced in June as per lease / lease agreements and other legal requirements. The invoice was clearly sent with a covering note and a publicly available statement [that] it could not take action on rent arrears only because of the period when the pubs were closed due to Kovid-19.

"The number of properties involved means it will take time to contact all tenants and the practice will continue."

Wellington says it has agreed to "plan one type or another" to help its 100 tenants, and that "this number is growing once a week."

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