Published: 07 June 2017
Q: I exchanged contracts to lease a premises which I intend to use as a fine dining restaurant. The agreement for lease is subject to the ‘grant of a premises licence’. I accept that I applied for the premises licence which was granted. However, the application went before the Local Authority’s Licensing Committee and they imposed a condition that I should have SIA registered door staff and they reduced the terminal time I requested, from 01:00am to 11:00pm every day of the week. This is unacceptable and I will not be able to operate under those terms. When I explained this to the landlord and his solicitor, they stated that this was my problem and that I was now committed to take the lease. Is this correct?
A: In most circumstances, if your agreement for lease is conditional on a premises licence being granted under the Licensing Act 2003, there will be additional terms or schedules specifically addressing this conditionality. They usually define, amongst other things, what would be a suitable premises licence, how long you have to acquire that premises licence, how to resolve any dispute in relation to conditions or restrictions imposed and the procedure for extending the completion date, should you decide to challenge the Council’s decision. It is therefore crucial that you seek immediate and appropriate legal advice.
Firstly, to understand and interpret the terms of the agreement and advise you of your obligations.
Secondly, to understand the Appeal provisions under the Licensing Act 2003 and the merits of appealing the Council’s decision. You should be aware that you have 21 days to appeal, beginning on the day on which you were notified by the Licensing Authority of their decision. Furthermore, unless the Magistrates’ Court expedite your case, on occasions it can be months before your Appeal is heard. You may however, have the opportunity during that appeal period, to negotiate with your Local Authority and possibly come to a compromise.
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