Challenges within the industry have been well documented of late but all may not be lost.
With a little forward thinking and preparation, you can safeguard your premises licence and potentially save your business. Here are our tips on protecting your licence:
- A premises licence lapses at the onset of insolvency. In the case of a company, this includes the appointment of administrators or an administrative receiver, going into liquidation, or the approval of a voluntary arrangement by its directors. In the case of an individual, this means when the individual is made bankrupt, upon the approval of a voluntary arrangement proposed by them, or upon entering into a trust deed for their creditors
- If the premises licence is held in your name and you are about to be made bankrupt or enter into a voluntary arrangement or deed of trust for your creditors, ensure the premises licence is transferred to another individual or to an active company as soon as possible. Likewise, if the licence is held by a company about to be made insolvent, explore whether there may be the possibility of transferring it to a company which would not be affected by the insolvency
- In certain circumstances, if it is not possible to find another individual or company to permanently transfer the licence to before or upon the onset of insolvency, certain prescribed persons or an insolvency practitioner may submit an interim authority notice which allows them to hold the premises licence for a maximum period of three months. An application to transfer the licence to an individual or active company must be made within this period otherwise the licence lapses permanently and a new application would be required
- If no interim authority notice is applied for, there is a strict 28-day deadline within which to transfer a premises licence which has lapsed. The transfer application must be made no later than 28 days, beginning on the day after the licence lapsed. If a transfer application is not submitted in time, the licence is permanently lost and a new application would be required. This can cause difficulties depending upon the location of the premises and, if it was in a cumulative impact area for example, there is no guarantee a licence could be obtained upon the same or broadly similar terms.
The effect of insolvency on premises licences is complex and the above is only a summary – it is always wise to seek legal advice as soon as possible.
For any legal enquiries please visit Poppleston Allen's website.