Licensing

Legal experts advise on hiring and retiring

By Poppleston Allen

- Last updated on GMT

Licensing: legal experts advice licensees
Licensing: legal experts advice licensees

Related tags Premises licence License

Legal experts Poppleston Allen answer questions from operators on licensing issues.

Licence for hire

Q: My licensed premises has been hired for a wedding reception. My premises licence issued under the Licensing Act 2003 authorises the sale of alcohol, live and recorded music and late-night refreshment. The organisers wish to operate under my premises licence. Is this advisable?

A:​ There are many operators in England and Wales who hire out part or all of their venue to third parties and those organisations then trade under the existing premises licence. Care must be taken because, on occasions, the premises licence holder (PLH) and the designated premises supervisor (DPS) have found themselves falling foul of the Licensing Act 2003 resulting in a review of their premises licence.

In such cases, the whole nature of your operation and your premises licence will be placed under scrutiny and could result in additional conditions, a reduction of your hours, removal of licensable activities or at worst, the licence revoked.

A premises licence authorising trade until the early hours will often have conditions, for example, relating to door staff and/or restricting children. Complying with such conditions may not be suitable to
the hirer.

The PLH and DPS are under an obligation to ensure that when their premises is operating, all the conditions on the premises licence are complied with. Whether or not the premises has been hired out to a third party would carry little weight.

Some operators try to exclude themselves from liability by creating a contract between themselves and the hirer. This is a very complex area and you should seek appropriate legal advice.

One option would be for a hirer to obtain a temporary event notice under s100 of the act. This will authorise licensable activities for a one-off event. The notice would be held by the hirer. They can discuss appropriate conditions with the police, licensing and environmental health officer.

Should there be any incident that causes the police or licensing authority any concern, this would afford the PLH and a DPS of a premises licence some protection from being prosecuted or from their licence being reviewed.

Giving up the licence

Q: I am retiring from the licensed trade and have a premises with a 2am licence. I am giving up my lease on the premises but I own the freehold of a flat immediately next door. I want to protect myself going forward from a new operator taking over my premises and causing me any noise issues. I have spoken to the local licensing officer and they have suggested that I surrender my premises licence. Is this a good idea?

A:​ In this situation, you must obtain appropriate legal advice. You may require not only advice in relation to your premises licence but also in relation to your lease.
Most leases will have conditions intended to prevent you from doing anything that adversely affects the premises or any associated premises.

A breach of the terms could result in the freeholder of the property taking legal action.

If there are no such conditions and no obligations anywhere else requiring the premises to trade in a certain way, such as planning permission, then you could consider surrendering your premises licence or alternatively applying to reduce the premises licence terminal hours or licensable activities.

As a local resident, you would have a right to make representations against any subsequent application to increase those hours by any transferee.

Clearly, if any action is taken that adversely affects the premises licence then this could financially affect the freeholder’s ability to successfully market the premises, and, consequently, detailed legal advice is recommended.

Related topics Licensing law

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