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Protecting Your Premises Licence: The Crucial Link Between Company Status and Alcohol Sales in England and Wales

Dear Business Owners,
Picture this: You’re running a successful establishment, serving up drinks and delights to your loyal patrons.  But did you know that the very foundation of your alcohol sales operation, your Premises Licence issued under the Licensing Act 2003 in England and Wales, could be at risk if your business structure isn’t on solid ground?
Here’s the sobering fact: If your Premises Licence is held in the name of a Limited Company registered at Companies House, and that company meets an unfortunate end through winding up or receivership, your Licence becomes as useful as a cocktail umbrella in a hurricane. In simpler terms, it becomes invalid and no further sales of alcohol can be made under it.  Any and all further sales are unauthorized sales of alcohol, which can attract a penalty of six months in prison and/or an unlimited fine.
But knowledge is power, and we’re here to arm you with the information you need to safeguard your business. Here’s the lowdown:
Know Your Licence Holder: Take a moment right now to dust off your Premises Licence and check the fine print. Is the Holder listed as a Limited Company?  If so, it’s time to ensure that the company is still standing tall and legally operational.  Check on Companies House to make sure the Limited Company still exists and hasn’t been dissolved.
It is not possible to give an interim authority notice in situations where a limited company held the licence and was dissolved, nor where a club held the licence and ceased to be a recognised club. In these situations, a transfer application must be made within the initial 28 days after the licence lapses, to retain the licence.
The Consequences of Inaction: Here’s where the stakes get higher than a game of high-stakes poker. If you fail to file an Interim Authority within the 28-day window, your Premises Licence effectively flatlines along with your defunct Limited Company. No more alcohol sales, no more business as usual – unless you’re ready to jump through hoops to apply for a brand-new Licence.
Stay Vigilant, Stay Protected: We cannot stress this enough – vigilance is your best defence.  So check the status of your company to ensure it remains in good standing. And if you spot any red flags – be it impending insolvency or changes in company structure – or even the unedifying spectacle of your Licence being in the name of a now-defunct Company, then don’t hesitate to reach out to us at The Licensing Guys ™  for guidance and support.  We have dealt with and successfully navigated two such issues this last month alone.
In essence, the link between your company’s status and the validity of your Premises Licence is not one to be underestimated, ensuring that you can continue to serve up the drinks and ambience your customers know and love.
So, please take heed of this gentle warning and take proactive steps to protect your Premises Licence. After all, a little foresight today could save you from drowning in bureaucracy tomorrow.
Cheers to smooth sailing and thriving businesses.