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Q: I am the president of a corporation which holds a Restaurant Liquor License issued by the PLCB.  The corporation does not own the building or real estate where the business is located, but leases it from the owner.  We have just received notice that our lease will expire in 90 days and will not be renewed.  What will happen to our liquor license?  Can we transfer it to a new location?

A: You will be able to file an application with the PLCB to transfer the liquor license to a new location.  However, the liquor license should be placed into safekeeping with the PLCB pending the transfer to the new location.

Assuming the lease term does in fact end at the expiration of the 90 days, and assuming that the landlord has given proper notice to you that the lease will not be renewed as required by the lease agreement, you must vacate the premises before the expiration of the 90 day period.  However, within 15 days after you vacate the premises, you must return the liquor license and your wholesale purchase permit cards to the Liquor Board with a written request to place the license into safekeeping due to the termination of the lease.  Once it is returned to the Board, the license is only invalidated as to the leased premises for which it was originally issued, but the license itself will not be terminated.  Instead, the license will be held in safekeeping by the Board for a period of up to three (3) years.

A license that is held in safekeeping is required to be kept current by the filing and payment of all state taxes and also by the payment of the required fees and the timely filing of the necessary PLCB license renewal and validation applications with the PLCB.

During this three year period, you may attempt to have the license transferred to another location.  If, due to circumstances beyond your control, you cannot locate another suitable location, or you cannot obtain a lease for another premises, or the PLCB fails to approve the transfer within the three year period, you must ask the Board to extend the three year period.  This is done by filing an application with the Board to extend the safekeeping period and paying the fee for the extension before the end of your three year period with the PLCB.  If the license is not transferred and reactivated within the three year period or you do not extend the three year period with the Board, the license will be revoked by the Board and cancelled.

As seen in the Observer Magazine, a monthly beverage journal magazine. Edward Taraskus contributes the Know the Law column.