Serving hotel residents

Related tags New legislation Licensing act Public house Alcoholic beverage

QCould you explain how hotels and B&B premises stand under the new legislation with the ability to serve alcohol to residents and their guests at...

QCould you explain how hotels and B&B premises stand under the new legislation with the ability to serve alcohol to residents and their guests at the moment? In your opinion does anything need stipulating in a conversion application?

AThis is what could be called an 'embedded right. There has been a lot of talk about embedded restrictions, but the concessions contained in the Licensing Act 1964 will also carry forward to the new licence, which should be expressed so as to reflect the situation under which the licence currently operates.

In such places as hotels and boarding houses, the licence will allow persons who are resident to be supplied with alcohol at any time during the residency, not just during the permitted hours. This is because there is a specific concession or exemption contained in section 63 of the 1964 Act which applies both to residents and, to their order, to guests of residents.

Clearly, a non-resident is not entitled to buy a drink after permitted hours, but they can consume drinks there if the alcohol was purchased by the resident.

The same applies to resident members of the staff, who can purchase drinks from the bar after time, as long as the licensee or employer has given them permission to do so.

I think it would, however, be a good idea to spell this out in Part A3 of the application form, where the applicant is asked for the 'limitations on the licensable activities. This section should also be used to state the additional 1964 Act right to open for the whole period between the end of permitted hours on 31 December and the start of permitted hours on 1 January another embedded right of the 1964 Act.

Off-sales when bar is shut

QWe have a separate off-sales department at this pub. Someone has said that it is illegal to make off-sales when we have closed the bar, for example on weekday afternoons. We let people ring the bell, and then if we are there, we serve them. Is this OK?

A Of course you can sell in the afternoons, just like any other off-licence holder. I suspect that you have been misled by this person saying that you are only allowed by the terms of your licence to sell 'both on and off the premises at the same time. If you close the on-sales section, then you are not doing both.

But nothing in the law states that pubs cannot open at different times for different things throughout the day. It would therefore be perfectly in order for you to close the bars of your house, but continue with off-sales in the afternoon, if you wish. After all, it is still during the permitted hours for your premises.

An interesting sidelight on this situation will occur when the new laws take effect. Although pubs will continue to be allowed to make off-sale in this way, clubs will not. It will become illegal for clubs to provide off-sales when the bar is closed, under the revised terms of the Licensing Act 2003.

Bouncing a cheque

QCould you advise what would happen to an application submitted to the council for conversion/variation if the cheque that is sent with the fees bounces?

ATechnically the application is defective because the applicant has not complied with the requirements. However, if there is a valid reason, or a sympathetic council, they may wait to process it until the cheque has been re-presented. It is a legal requirement for the fee to be paid at the time of application â " the form itself makes it clear that failure may invalidate the application.

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