Can a Realtor serve liquor at an open house?


So if you’re going to be in a position where you are serving alcohol at your open house And you don’t have a liquor license, and let’s face it Pretty much no real estate agent is gonna randomly have their own liquor license We have to make sure that the open house is not available to the public because if You are serving alcohol at a place that is open to the public It will require that you have a liquor license to do it. How do you make sure that the open house is not open to the public? Well three criteria have to be met to ensure that the open house is not open to the public One is that there can’t be any SALE of alcohol The real estate agent cannot be charging, you know $5 for a glass of wine and $8 dollars for a cocktail you have to make sure that there’s no actual SALE of alcohol Happening at the open house. Now. Most of us are pretty okay with us, right? No one’s gonna charge for a liquor at an open house or charge for a drink at an open house So this is probably not something that most real estate agents have to worry about. We’re not gonna be charging for the sale of alcohol The second test is that the premises cannot be maintained for the purpose of keeping, serving, consuming or disposing alcoholic beverages. Now if you’re doing an open house It’s pretty unlikely that the premises are gonna be maintained for the purpose of serving liquor So if it’s a residential property, but it’s not zoned commercial. It’s not zoned retail restaurant or bar So this is also probably not going to be a problem for most real estate agents But the third requirement might be something that is a challenge For a lot of real estate agents that are doing open house that may want to serve liquor So the event should not be open to the “general public” at the time alcoholic beverages are served this is known in the hospitality world as a “private party exception” and how this “private party exception” works is that the person doing the open house has to have prepared names of invited guests prior to the event and because you have a list of people that are Allowed to be admitted to the event, the event becomes a private party Now this means if somebody does show up at your open house where you’re serving alcohol And they’re not on the list. You have to turn them away. Otherwise, if you let them in then the event could be Construed as being “open to the public” Now if any person not on the list is admitted to the event It could be considered open and then a license would be required to serve liquor So very important to remember that private party exception requirements require that you maintain a list of attendees and somebody that’s not on the list would have to be turned away now it’s important to remember that there could be some liability on the shoulders of the real-estate agent if Alcohol is served to someone that’s under 21. That could cause liability on the shoulders of the broker or salesperson and if you continue to serve alcohol to someone who is obviously Intoxicated or is a “habitual drunkard” This could also create some liability on the shoulders of the agent. So you want to be smart about it! Make sure that if you are serving wine At an a open house that you have proper protocol that’s being followed To make sure we limit our liability at some of these open house events

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