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You may wish to transfer a liquor licence for one of several reasons. When buying or selling a business, you may decide to transfer the liquor licence so that the new owner can trade under the existing licence. You can also transfer a liquor licence when you want to change the licensee. In New South Wales (NSW), you can transfer a liquor licence:

  1. with written consent of the existing licensee​;
  2. without written consent of the existing licensee;
  3. following the death, disability or bankruptcy of a licensee; or
  4. with a notice of licence transfer.

To transfer a liquor licence, you will need to:

  • apply online through the Liquor & Gaming NSW website;
  • prepare and upload the relevant documentation; and 
  • pay the required fee.

This article will discuss how transferring a liquor licence in NSW works in each of the above four scenarios.

1. With Written Consent of the Existing Licensee

The existing licensee can provide written consent to the transfer of their liquor licence to a new licensee by completing and signing the relevant form (TDEC1). Once the existing licensee has provided their consent, the process is usually straightforward.

The transfer application can be lodged by the:

  • existing licensee;
  • proposed licensee;
  • premises owner;
  • business owner;
  • secretary or other office-bearer (only for a limited liquor licence held on behalf of an association); or
  • general manager of a council (only for a limited liquor licence held on behalf of a public authority or community association).

This table sets out what information and documentation you need to support your application.

All applicants will need:
  • liquor licence name and number;
  • name and contact details of the person lodging the form;
  • the intended transfer date (this must be more than three business days after the application is received);
  • your representative’s name and contact details if applicable (e.g. your lawyer or consultant);
  • proof of ownership (if you are the owner of the premises);
  • details of the proposed licensee’s industry experience and profile;
  • completed data monitoring services’ direct debit request form (if you are operating gaming machines);
  • declaration by the existing licensee (i.e. form TDEC1); and
  • declaration by the proposed licensee (i.e. form TDEC2).
Individuals will need:
  • copy of your NSW national police certificate (less than three months old);
  • copies of the three identity documents you used when you applied for the NSW national police certificate;
  • evidence of your responsible service of alcohol qualification;
  • personal details of the:
    • proposed licensee;
    • any interested third parties;
    • proposed or present premises owner; and
    • proposed or present business owner; and
  • evidence of your responsible conduct of gambling qualification (if you are operating gaming machines).
Organisations will need:
  • evidence of an appointed liquor approved manager;
  • details of the:
    • proposed licensee, including ABN, ACN;
    • proposed licensee’s contact person;
    • any interested third parties;
    • proposed or present premises owner (including ABN or ACN); and
    • proposed or present business owner (including ABN or ACN); and
  • the proposed licensee’s current Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) extract showing the directors and shareholders.

In most cases, Liquor & Gaming NSW will give you provisional approval within five working days so that the business can continue operating without any disruption. It will take around 60 working days to confirm the transfer.

2. Without Written Consent of the Existing Licensee

The premises owner or the current business owner can apply to transfer a liquor licence into their name or the name of a nominated person without written consent of the existing licensee. This is known as an ‘owner in possession’ transfer application. This option is available when the premises owner or current business owner wants to transfer a liquor licence and the existing licensee has:

  • not agreed to transfer the liquor licence;
  • vacated the premises; or
  • been evicted from the premises.

Before the premises owner or current business owner can apply, they must advise the existing licensee (by a letter or email) that they intend to apply for the transfer application. They must also advise the existing licensee that they have three days to make a submission to Liquor & Gaming NSW.

In addition, if the premises owner or current business owner lodges the transfer application within 28 days of the existing licensee leaving the premises, they will be considered to be the licensee of the premises until their application is determined. This means that they can continue to trade.

For example, a tenant might be the owner of a liquor licence attached to the premises. If the landlord evicts the tenant due to unpaid rent, the landlord can apply for an ‘owner in possession’ transfer application to transfer the liquor licence to themselves without the tenant’s consent. This would allow the business to continue operating when the tenant is evicted.

In another scenario, the new owner of a business could ask the premises owner to make an owner in possession application if the existing licensee refuses to provide consent to the transfer of the liquor licence.

As well as the documentation described above, you will also need to provide a:

  • declaration by the owner in possession (form TDEC3); and
  • copy of the letter or email you sent to the existing licensee.

3. Following the Death, Disability or Bankruptcy of a Licensee

A person or organisation may need to transfer a liquor licence due to the death, disability or bankruptcy of the existing licensee. If the existing licensee was using a liquor licence immediately before their death, disability, or bankruptcy, another person may continue to operate the licensee’s business for up to one month. This person can be:

  • the licensee’s spouse or de facto partner;
  • a member of the licensee’s family; or
  • someone who carries on business on behalf of the family.

It is important to notify Liquor & Gaming NSW immediately by lodging the relevant form (AM0323) if you intend to continue carrying on the business.

4. Notice of Licence Transfer

Finally, a streamlined option is available for businesses that operate multiple liquor licences and regularly move employees from one location to another. In this case, you can notify Liquor & Gaming NSW of a transfer of a liquor licence if the:

  1. business owner is not changing;
  2. proposed licensee is an individual (not an organisation);
  3. business owner provides written consent to the transfer within the relevant form;
  4. proposed licensee holds or has held the same licence type within the past three years (e.g. a restaurant licence cannot be transferred into a hotel licence); and
  5. proposed licensee has not committed a prescribed offence or been disqualified, and the licence has not been suspended or cancelled, within the past three years.

You can apply for a notice of licence transfer online with the relevant supporting documents and pay the reduced fees.

Key Takeaways

In NSW, you can apply to transfer a liquor licence online through Liquor & Gaming NSW website. However, it is important to understand which form to use and what documentation you need to ensure a smooth process and no delays. If you need assistance with transferring a liquor licence in NSW, contact LegalVision’s business lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.


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