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Alcohol laws could mean you have to have a personal licence to give away 'free' alcohol in your holiday home.

Holiday home owners are advised to check alcohol licensing laws.

Alcohol laws could mean you have to have a personal licence to give away 'free' alcohol in your holiday home.

Do you like to include a welcome pack or hamper filled with local produce that may also include a cheeky tipple for your guests to enjoy? Cornwall Council are now advising holiday home owners to exercise caution when it comes to providing ‘complimentary’ alcoholic beverages for their guests.

Many guests enjoy the surprise of receiving a bottle of prosecco or a local craft gin as part of the ‘home away from home’ experience many have come to expect when booking a holiday cottage property. This could become a thing of the past with the legislations from local councils set to prosecute those who are found to be in breach of Alcohol Licensing laws.


The law: Visit Britain have issued the following statement about providing “free” alcohol to guests:

“You need a licence to sell alcohol – this includes providing ‘free’ alcohol, because it is an incentive to purchase and/or is included in your pricing structure. The fact that you charge the guest for staying in your accommodation means that they are essentially paying for the alcohol that is provided. In other words, the guest has effectively paid a “consideration” for that service. It is not free.

  • Note: the Government is currently in the process of introducing Community and Ancillary Sales Notices (CANs), which will allow accommodation businesses to sell small amounts of alcohol for a nominal fee.”
    Read Visit Britain’s Advice Regarding Alcohol Licensing Laws for more information about how to make sure you’re on the right side of the law.

The Licensing Act 2003 states that you must have both a Personal Licence and a Premises Licence in order to ‘sell alcohol on your premises’, even if no monetary transaction takes place.


What will this cost?

The cost to obtain a Premises Licence is based on the property’s rateable value and the process can take up to three months, while the application fee for a Personal Licence is £37, covering the cost of the training for you to be able to supply alcoholic beverages.

Cornwall Council’s Licensing team have recommended that holiday home owners remain cautious when it comes to the supply of alcohol. One way to be safe is to make sure you don’t mention that alcohol will be supplied as part of the package the guest has purchased, either in your printed literature or online advertisements. If this is mentioned in any literature, it then implies that this is included within the payment for the holiday rental, meaning you would require a licence.


Get in touch.

To put your mind at ease, if you have any questions or concerns please get in touch with our friendly team of property experts: property@cornishcottageholidays.co.uk or call us on 01326 573808 or visit our Let Your Cottage page to get in touch.