If you're buying a restaurant, bar, or other business that sells liquor, the Vendor will have a liquor licence in order to sell alcohol. To continue selling alcohol as the new owner you need to transfer ownership of the liquor licence.
But how do you transfer a liquor licence in Victoria? In this post we'll give you a lawyer's guide on how to do this.
How to transfer a liquor licence in Victoria?
There are 6 steps involved when transferring a liquor licence in Victoria: (1) create an account with the Liquor Authority, (2) complete transfer application, (3) complete required courses, (4) pass police check, (5) obtain right to occupy premises, and (6) get approved and settle the business to obtain liquor licence. We discuss them in more detail below.
Create account with liquor authority
The first step is creating an account with the Victorian Liquor Commission (VLC). This is where you will obtain the online application form and requirements to transfer the licence. In the past there was a paper version you could submit, however recently the liquor authority has required all new applications to be done online through their portal.
Complete liquor license transfer application & provide supporting documents
Once you've created an account, you can link the liquor licence your're looking to transfer, and then complete the application form. There are several sections in the application that need to be completed, including: new owner details, questionnaires for each person named in application, licence details, declaration of associates, transferor's consent, right to occupy, and required courses details.
In order to submit the application, you will need to supply a historic ASIC search (if company) and either certificate of completion or enrollment confirmations of your RSA and New Entrant Training courses, and pay the relevant fee.
Complete RSA and New Entrant Training courses
If you haven't completed your Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) and New Entrant Training (also known as Licensees’ First Step) courses, you will need to complete them in order to be granted the transfer of the liquor licence. Both courses take one full day to complete and can be done either online or in person.
If you haven't completed the courses when you submit your application, this okay, you just need to supply evidence that you’ve enrolled in them, and once complete, email to the Liquor Authority your completion certificates.
Pass police check
Whenever a licence is transferred, it needs to be approved by the local police officer who manages the liquor laws for the premises. This will involve the police officer reviewing the application, doing a background check, and calling the applicant to discuss it. If you have a criminal record, it will be much harder to get a liquor licence transferred into your name. The police comment can also take a bit of time, on average at least 30 days for the police officer to complete their part of the job.
Obtain right to occupy premises
You need to provide the Liquor Authority a declaration that you have the right to occupy the premises where the alcohol will be sold. This means you must own the premises, or rather in most scenarios, have a commercial lease to be the tenant of the premises that you will obtain from the property's landlord.
Get approved, settle the business, and obtain liquor licence
Once the Liquor Authority has obtained and processed all required items from you and third parties, they will inform you that you are approved and will issue the liquor licence in your name once you have commenced occupation of the premises (ie settled the business).
All this involves is emailing to the Liquor Authority the right to occupy declaration that you have taken possession of the business premises as a tenant or owner, and then the Liquor Authority will email you the liquor licence in the applicant's name to display at the premises.
And you're done! You can now sell alcohol!
Frequently asked questions
Below are some common questions about the liquor licence transfer process in Vic.
How long does it take to transfer a liquor licence in Victoria?
It takes between 55-60 days for the Liquor Authority to complete a transfer of liquor licence if they have all required items. This cannot be expedited as the Liquor Authority processes thousands of applications each year so they stick to a set workflow. In order to make sure your application is processed within the time frame, you want to make sure you supply them all required items as soon as possible.
How much is the transfer of liquor licence fee in Vic?
The fee to lodge a transfer of liquor licence application is $223.50 in the 22/23 financial year
How long does the liquor licence police check take?
The Liquor Authority give a guideline of 30 days for the local police officer responsible for the licence to provide their comment on it. However if the police officer is busy, they can take longer.
Can you change the liquor licence after transferring it?
Yes you can. After the licence is transferred into your name, you can make a separate application to vary it. Although you can do a variation at the same time as you do a transfer, we do not recommend doing this as it will increase the transfer processing time. Most transfers are done as part of a business sale, so you want to be able sell liquor and settle the business as soon as possible.
Need help transferring a liquor licence?
Need help transfering a liquor licence into your name? Or are buying a business with a liquor licence and need assistance with the transaction? Please contact our business solicitors to engage our services to assist with you by completing the form below or calling our office on 03 9708 5564.
Disclaimer: This guide relates to Victorian law and should not be relied upon for legal advice rather it is general in nature. Please contact our office to engage us to receive legal advice for your specific circumstance.