Complaints about licensed premises

What complaints do we investigate?

We investigate licensing complaints such as:

  • activities that are carried out without a licence, or
  • activities that break the rules of a licence.

We only take action against complaints if there is enough evidence to investigate.

Investigating a complaint often involves other teams within the council, or our partners. For example:

  • Underage sales may be investigated by Brent and Harrow Trading Standards. 
  • Noisy premises may be investigated by Environmental Health. They may also also involve our Anti-Social Behaviour team and the police. 
  • Counterfeit goods may be investigated by Trading Standards, Police and HMRC. 

We will help you refer your complaint to a partner agency when it's appropriate.

For some complaints we are not the enforcing body. We don't investigate complaints that do not involve licensing.

This includes complaints about poor service or contract disputes.

Submit a licensing complaint

To submit a licensing complaint you will need to:

Download complaint form

Grounds for objection

Objections may only be made on the grounds outlined below:

Type of application

Grounds for objection

Alcohol, entertainment and late night take-away licences under the Licensing Act 2003

- crime and disorder
- public safety
- public nuisance
- poses harm to children

Gambling and betting under the Gambling Act 2005

- crime and disorder
- gambling isn’t fair and open
- poses harm to children and vulnerable people

Pavement licences

- public safety
- crime and disorder
- highway obstruction
- nuisance

Street trading

- highway obstruction
- nuisance

Sex establishments

- the applicant is unsuitable
- the location is unsuitable

Objections on any other grounds, or which are flippant will be rejected.

Objections are shared with applicants so names and addresses may be disclosed. This is unless you ask us to keep your details private.

You can download information about objecting to alcohol, entertainment and late-night take-away licence applications.

Committee powers

The committee has a range of powers available to it. They can issue warnings, suspend licences and impose extra conditions or revoke licences.

You can download the review forms to apply for a:

Complaints about licences may take into consideration when those licences are renewed.

Inspecting premises

We inspect licensed premises to help licence holders meet their licence conditions.

We inspect premises on a risk-assessed basis. Our officers visit:

  • alcohol-licensed premises following either a complaint, or a change of designated premises supervisor
  • each special treatment premises once a year (apart from low-risk premises in Band A)
  • shisha premises “as and when”
  • a quarter of betting premises each year
  • all pet shops and animal boarding establishments.

Copies of our inspection records are provided to licence holders after each visit.

Templates of our inspections checklists are available from our Licensing team.

Breach of premise licence conditions

When licence conditions are not followed we enforce our policies (available on request).

This can be according to the following scale:

  • offering advice, information and help
  • issuing an informal warning
  • issuing a formal written warning
  • issuing a simple caution
  • prosecuting offenders in court.

Enforcement powers

Where we have the powers to do so we may also:

  • issue a licensed premises closure notice (for premises under the Licensing Act 2003)
  • Insist on a minor variation application to be made (for premises under the Licensing Act 2003)
  • apply for the licence to be renewed (for premises under the Licensing Act 2003 or Gambling Act 2005)
  • impose extra licence conditions
  • refuse to renew a licence
  • revoke a licence