An often overlooked requirement under the Liquor Control Act
(WA) 1988 (LCA) is for liquor licence holders
not to make any alteration to a licensed premises without the prior
approval of the Director of Liquor Licensing.
This not only applies to the physical alteration of a building,
but also to alterations that reduce the area within a premises,
such as the installation of bars or refrigerators.
This could have implications for parties entering into contracts
involved with licensed premises, such as lessors, lessees, builders
and those planning to buy or renovate licensed premises. The
consequences of failing to obtain the Director's approval
include being given directions to remove the alterations, or worse,
the suspension of the liquor licence.
Without a well thought out agreement, licence holders could find
themselves unable to sell alcohol, unable to update their venues,
or bound by service contracts where the work or goods are not
permitted to be used.
Entering into agreements
When entering into agreements involving licensed premises,
parties should ensure that the agreement provides the flexibility
to comply with the LCA.
Lessors should insert into lease agreements provisions that
lessees will comply with the LCA and will not alter the premises
without the consent from the lessor. Indemnities from the lessee
for compromising the liquor licence could also be inserted to
protect the lessor from losses if the liquor licence is suspended.
If a tenant jeopardises the liquor licence, the lessor could suffer
serious losses in the licence attaching to the premises.
To allow for future renovations and upgrading of the licensed
premises, lessees should negotiate their leases so that at the very
least, lessors will not unreasonably withhold consent to alter the
Licensees may need to also ensure that equipment agreements
involving licensed premises, are conditional on the consent of the
director being obtained if necessary.
Including such provisions in agreements will give more
flexibility to the parties involved, and assist in upgrading
licensed premises in the future.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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