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Licensed premises can be a cause for complaints from surrounding residents. By putting preventative measures in place, licensees can maintain a positive relationship with their neighbours and local residents.

Neighbours may complain about:

  • loud thumping amplified music
  • bottles being tipped into dumpsters in the early hours of the morning
  • noisy customers leaving licensed premises can be associated with slamming car doors, vandalise private and public property, gather on the street or behave in a drunken or anti-social manner.

If the Victorian Liquor Commission becomes involved in disputes between neighbours and licensees, it may result in substantial fines, a reduction in licensed trading hours or suspension or cancellation of a licence.

Tips for licensees

Getting along with neighbours is vital for licensees as heavy penalties apply to those who ignore a neighbour’s reasonable request. The following tips can be used to take appropriate action and avoid escalating complaints.

  • Take every complaint seriously and act quickly to address its cause - experience shows that if licensees ignore reasonable concerns the situation rapidly deteriorates.
  • Call or visit the complainant personally and listen carefully to their concerns. Offer them your contact number and invite them to call you should the problem reoccur.
  • Explain what you intend to do to address the problem and keep the complainant informed of your actions. Ask for further feedback from them.

Help prevent problems

Complaint Prevention
Noisy patrons Alert customers for the need to depart quietly by making regular announcements prior to closing time. Display signs requesting customers respect the peace and quiet of the neighbourhood on departure.
Unruly patrons Provide security staff to monitor the area around the licensed premises.
Lack of consultation Get to know your neighbours, attend neighbourhood meetings and get involved with the community.
Lack of awareness surrounding community issues and concerns Participate in liquor licensing forums or accords. Keep in touch with licensing and council representatives, policy and the wider community.

Tips for residents

If you have a complaint about noise levels or the behaviour of patrons leaving a licensed premises, contact the manager or licence holder and let them know your concerns. They should be willing to listen and take reasonable steps to address the problem.

Should the issue be more serious and involve a breach of the law, such as underage drinking or public drunkenness, then you should contact Victoria PoliceExternal Link who will investigate your concerns.

You can also make a complaint to Liquor Control Victoria.

Reviewed 02 April 2023


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