How to apply for sex shop licence

Sex shops definition

A sex shop is defined as any premises, vehicle, vessel or stall used for a business which consists of selling, hiring, exchanging, lending, displaying or demonstrating sex articles, to a significant degree. These are other things intended for use in connection with or for the purpose of stimulating or encouraging sexual activity or acts of force or restraint which are associated with sexual activity.

The sale of R18* videos and DVDs requires a sex shop licence in all circumstances. (*The R18 category is a special and legally restricted classification primarily for explicit videos of consenting sex between adults).

A licence is needed to run a sex establishment unless:

  • The establishment is used only for the sale, supply or demonstration of articles primarily used for or related to birth control
  • The council has waived the requirement for a licence
  • The council requires various inspections and consultation with council departments, external organisations/services and the public before an application for a licence will be considered

If a licence is granted, the premises must comply with all conditions of licence to prevent any offence to members of the public and to protect those under the age of 18. Certain factors need to be considered when an application for a sex shop licence is made. These factors may include whether or not the premises are in an inappropriate location, for example near a school, a place of worship or family shopping area.

You must:

  • Advertise the application
  • Display a public notice in one of the local newspapers (for one night only, but allowing 28 days for objections to be received by Licensing) and on the premises (where it can be easily seen by members of the public) for 28 days

Last updated:‎ ‎23‎/‎05‎/‎2023‎ ‎14‎:‎10‎