More of your questions answered in this months Hill Brown Licensing Q & A.
I have taken the lease of a restaurant but the licence is in the name of the previous tenant who has done a runner. I am desperate to open is there anything l can do? Can l trade under their licence at the moment?
Timescales are really important here. If your lease started within the past 28 days you can lodge an application to
transfer without any involvement or consent from the previous tenant. The Licensing Board will ask you to demonstrate that the business has transferred to you by exhibiting the appropriate documentation and if the principal licence can’t be located you may also need to pay for a duplicate. This should take no more than a couple of weeks to be approved provided the Police don’t have any concerns about your acquisition. If you are outwith the 28 day period, time and the law are not on your side. You will either have to ask the Clerk to the Licensing Board to grant you a dispensation for failing to meet the timescales (which may involve going to the Licensing Board and making your case) or try and track down that absent tenant for their consent. I would recommend speaking to a specialist licensing Solicitor if you are in this position. Although the law doesn’t require the licence to be held by the person operating the business it would not be advisable to trade under the old tenants licence, particularly as the premises manager is no longer likely to be employed, meaning that any sales of alcohol are unauthorised.
For more information you can contact Audrey directly at Hill Brown Licensing: AJ@mshblicensing.com