Legal Advice on Business Sales & Purchases

Legal Advice On The Purchase Of A Pub

If you are looking to buy a freehold, leasehold or tenanted pub we can help. If you're not sure about which kind of purchase is best for you or are generally unsure about the process, give us a call for a free no obligation discussion.

If this is a new venture and you need advice on setting up your business please give us a call to discuss your options. You should also have a read of our pub buying legal guide below.

Latest Customer Review (16 October 2017): 'James Edwards helped us in the sale of our business, he acted very efficiently and kept us updated at all stages.'  Read more >

  • How We Can Help With Leasing Or Buying A Pub
  • Overview Of Buying A Pub
  • Find Your Pub
  • Negotiate Your Terms
  • Check The Accounts
  • Check The Property And Its Contents
  • Check The Landlord's Title To The Pub
  • Enquiries & Searches
  • Examine And Negotiate Draft Documents
  • Complete The Pub Purchase
Each pub purchase is different and will be tailored to your needs but in a nutshell we will usually:

  • Negotiate and advise you on the basic terms of the deal (or the 'Heads of Terms') that may have been put to you by the Seller and/or the agent (if any)

  • If need be advise you on starting up your Business and as to whether a Freehold, Leasehold or tenanted pub purchase is best suited for you

  • Check and negotiate the lease or (in the case of freehold purchase) transfer documentation

  • Check and negotiate the contract for sale of the business

  • Raise enquiries and carry out searches on the business to be sold and the leasehold property

  • Advise you on licensing arrangements, employment issues and hire agreements

  • Check the landlord's title to the pub
  • Buying a pub is a complex process so this overview can only give you a general indication of the usual steps that should be taken when buying a pub.
    The first step to buying a pub is find a pub that you like the look of and at first glance appears to make sound financial sense. Typically purchases ask property agents but there are many other ways of finding attractive propositions such as talking to people in the business or searching the internet.
    Once you've found a pub for sale that you like the look of the next step will be to agree on the basic terms of the purchase (called the 'Heads of Terms') with the Seller, usually via an agent. It is important to take advice from a solicitor on the heads of terms: all too often basic essential terms of the transaction are not discussed until much later in the buying process. By then the Seller will often be much more reluctant to agree any new or any changes to the main terms of the purchase. Worse still, if an important term cannot be agreed later and the deal falls through as a result you risk losing all the time and money that you've put into the purchase.
    You should gather as much information about the finances of the business as possible such as audited accounts, VAT returns, management figures, weekly takings etc. You should discuss these carefully with an accountant. It is important that you take advice from an accountant who is experienced in licensed properties.
    It is absolutely essential to employ a competent surveyor to check the building. If, for example, there is damaged roof or foundations this can be very expensive to fix. Even if you are leasing the building and the Landlord is directly liable for the cost of these items and you are not indirectly liable via a service charge these problems can still cause severe disruption to the business and consequentially lose you a lot of money.

    The Surveyor should also advise you on the condition of the Contents being sold with the business. For example, it is pointless paying good money to the seller for pumps if they will need replacing within a couple of months.
    The Seller's solicitor should send your solicitor documentation that will allow your solicitor to examine the seller's 'title' to the property. Whether you are buying a freehold or leasehold pub this means that your solicitor will advise you on whether:

    1. The seller actually has the right to sell the pub and

    2. There are any problems with the legal title to the land you are going to buy or lease. The potential 'problems' are too numerous to list but could include not being able to use the land for a particular use (eg as a restaurant) or having to pay a third party for the use of some part of the property.
    There are many enquiries that your solicitor will need to raise with the Seller on the property and the business. These will range from checking to see that there is a valid existing premises licence in place to ensuring that the business being bought is legally sound.

    Your solicitor will also need to carry out a number of 'searches', normally to check whether there are any other interests or restrictions affecting the property that you would otherwise be unaware of. You will normally need to carry out environmental, local, water and chancel searches. Other searches may be necessary depending on the transaction.
    The Seller's solicitor will send the contract for sale of the pub. If a new lease is being granted a draft lease will also be sent. If you are buying the freehold draft documentation necessary to transfer the freehold title will be sent. Your solicitor will invariably need to make many amendments to these documents to cater to your specific business needs. It will also usually be necessary to negotiate various terms. Your solicitor will explain the implications of the contract and lease/transfer documents.

    Once you are happy with the terms of the draft documents then 'engrossments' (ie final versions) will be produced for you to sign.
    If there is to be an exchange of contracts normally signed contracts and the deposit moneys will need to be sent to your solicitor. You solicitor will then exchange contracts and send the signed contract with the deposit moneys to the Seller.

    After exchange of contracts completion will take place. This is when the balance of the purchase moneys are sent to the Seller and you officially become the new owner of the pub and the new tenant or freehold owner of the land.

    Why Choose Bartletts Solicitors?

    Solid Traditional Values Delivered
    In A Modern Convenient Manner


    Our firm has years of experience in buying and selling businesses across England and Wales.

    Benefit from competitive fixed fees, free advice and no hidden costs.

    Our solicitors are very experienced having worked at the firm for an average of 18 years.

    Customer service is very important to us. John Bartlett has been managing the firm for over 50 years and takes customer satisfaction and the very rare complaints we have extremely seriously.


    Send Our Commercial Property Law Team An Enquiry:

    Commercial Property Team:

    Commercial Property Solicitor
    Chris Bartlett is a solicitor experienced at pub purchases. He will be happy to offer you a free telephone consultation regarding the pub you are thinking of buying or leasing.
    Commercial Property Solicitor
    James Edwards is a commercial property solicitor advising landlords and tenants on commercial leases. He also has experience in buying and selling commercial property.


    About Our Commercial Property Team >>