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Entering the Trade

Tenancy, Lease, Managed or Free House

Pubs fall into four main categories - tenanted, leased, managed and free houses.

It is assumed that you have made the decision to run your own business and therefore do not wish to run a managed pub. That is a house where you are employed by Fuller's to run it in return for an annual salary and bonus package. If you would prefer to take this option, which involves no financial investment on your part, you can find out more about opportunities in our Managed House division on 020 8996 2000 or by clicking here.

In addition to its managed estate Fuller's owns approximately 220 pubs let on what is described in our business as tenancy or lease agreements.


Whilst we have some houses operated under longer term leases we now only offer traditional tenancies on the open market. This is where a rent is paid to Fuller's, which enables you to run your own pub business. You will be obliged to purchase all your beer, wines, flavoured alcoholic beverages, minerals and spirits through Fuller’s or our nominated suppliers. You are free to purchase dry goods (foods of any type) from the supplier of your choice.

In return Fuller's will have certain obligations to support you and your business. These will be fully explained as you read on in this code.

A tenancy is a fixed three year agreement with a reasonably low cost of entry. The rent is set at the commencement of the term and adjusted annually in line with the Retail Price Index. The tenancy, in normal circumstances, is renewable on a three yearly basis and at the end of each three year period a full rent review will normally be carried out.

When you take on a tenancy you will be required to purchase the fixtures and fittings of the pub, pay one week's rent in advance, a security deposit and any other ingoing costs. When you leave the pub you would sell on the fixtures and fittings to the next incumbent or to Fuller's.

In a tenancy Fuller's remains responsible for the majority of the property repairs, further details of which can be found in the tenancy key terms section of this brochure.

The majority of our agreements are fully protected by the Security of Tenure provisions contained in Part 2 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. You will be informed at the outset if this is not the case.


A lease is a longer fixed term opportunity to run and develop your own business.

A lease will normally be on a full repairing basis and is considered, in the pub trade, to be a medium risk investment. It gives you the benefit of a lower cost of entry than a free house and the ability to sell the lease on, or 'assign' as it is known, for a capital sum when you leave, while still giving you the benefits of running your own business.

The rent is set at the commencement of the term and is normally adjusted annually in line with the Retail Prices Index. It will often also have a full rent review after the first five years of the lease but this can vary depending on the length of the agreement. There are also free of tie leases available with some companies similar to the tied lease but with no purchasing obligations.

A Freehold Property

This is where you purchase the freehold of a pub and run the business entirely the way you wish to. Negotiating supply arrangements with different brewers and other suppliers can offset the higher costs at commencement. Financially, this normally has a higher risk factor. You will need to assess the cost of borrowings or use of your own capital used to purchase the freehold against the rent you would pay on a lease. As with any property you own, if property values rise or the trade increases in value, normally the value of the business increases.

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