Alterations and additions to licensed areas

Responsible Management of Licensed VenuesWhat is the licensed area?

The part of the building and land where liquor can be sold, supplied and consumed is called the licensed area. The licensed area is stated on the licence document under the heading “Licensed Area Description.” The licensed area description contains what buildings or part of buildings are licensed and details any exclusion. The Real Property Description describes the licensed area in the context of the land titles.

Changing or increasing a licensed area

The licensed area cannot be changed without prior approval from the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR). Any new or changed areas must be stated on the licence before these can be used. Using an area which is not licensed may attract a fine of up to $10 000 (section 170).

Applications to increase the licensed area must include only areas adjoining the areas already licensed.

To seek approval for an increase or decrease of the licensed area, the application (including plans) must be lodged with and approved by OLGR before the work is carried out. It is better to obtain approval first than spend money on building works which are not subsequently approved.

If entertainment is going to be provided in the new area, suitable soundproofing must be carried out during construction and a report provided from a qualified acoustics expert.

Examples of changes/increases:

  • Adding a footpath dining area

  • Extending the functions/entertainment room

  • Adding a new liquor outlet at a tourist park

Decreasing an area

It is equally important to obtain approval if the licensed area is to be decreased. Examples:

  • A hotel licensee has sold a bottle shop to another publican or has ceased trading in a bottle shop

  • A restaurateur previously occupied two shops and has leased one to another business

In these cases, the licensed area must be decreased on the licence document. It is an offence for the licensee not to decrease the licensed area.

As well as being an offence not to decrease the area from the licence, the licensee will continue to be liable for an offence inadvertently committed by the new trader while the area remains on his/her licence. For example:

The licensee of the Royal Hotel does not renew her lease on a bottle shop at the local shopping centre. The centre owner leases the shop to a newsagent. The shop continues to be licensed premises despite the lease change. Each time a minor walks into the newsagent an offence is committed, and the licensee of the Royal Hotel is responsible.

Other alterations and building works

Minor works such as painting, carpet removal or installing new shelves do not require approval by OLGR. However, any change that involves including new areas on the licence or a reconfiguration of existing rooms will need approval.