Licence Fees may be unlawful

Licence Fees may be unlawful

8:12 AM, 13th August 2018, About 4 years ago 25

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I have just seen the article by solicitor Giles Peaker on his excellent blog “Nearly Legal”, which relates to a recent case in which LB Richmond’s HMO Licence Fees have been found to be unlawful, as they were set in breach of an EU Directive.

The issue was whether private letting of accommodation was a service for the purposes of EU Directive 2006/123/EC. If it was, then the licence fee would be restricted to just the apportioned costs of processing the application, not the broader costs of the operation and enforcement of the licensing scheme.

The court concluded that the private letting of accommodation amounts to a service within the meaning of the Services Directive. The Court held that LB Richmond’s fee for an HMO licence was unlawful because it was not strictly limited to the costs to LB Richmond of processing the licence application. Accordingly LB Richmond had not been entitled to demand the fee which it had demanded.

While this may still allow Councils to charge a fee for HMO/Selective licensing, it would appear to limit the fee to the cost of processing the application only.

Giles Peaker does point out that this case may be appealed by the LB Richmond, but in the meantime, for anyone disputing HMO or Selective Licensing, this case should perhaps be brought to the attention of the landlord’s legal representatives.

Robert



Comments

by Chris @ Possession Friend

10:34 AM, 10th April 2019, About 3 years ago

Then whats the ' feckin ' the point of Licensing - might explain why Councils aren't doing any enforcing, - but then they shouldn't use Licensing as a reason to improve standards if its not.

by BB

4:41 AM, 11th April 2019, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Rob Crawford at 10/04/2019 - 09:58
Thank you to Rob for that, let's hope there comes something from this.
Sorry I might not be too "clued up" or informed on this matter. But could I please ask a question, which is in regards to my situation.
I was late registering my one and only property for Selective Licensing in that area, and fined £350. I was already in the process of selling the flat and the buyer was a landlord too. But despite I having paid the licensing fees £400 and the fine and meeting with all.the requirements & regulations when the transfer took place the licence was revoked.
Would it be worth my while contacting the LA or a solicitor, given what's been said above by Rob, Giles ect. Many thanks.

by Rob Crawford

22:09 PM, 11th April 2019, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by BB at 11/04/2019 - 04:41
Why was the licence revoked? What reason did they give? Was it because the landlord changed?

by BB

8:17 AM, 12th April 2019, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Rob Crawford at 11/04/2019 - 22:09Sorry I don't know as I did nt ask, at that point a few months after the sale had completed it did nt effect me. I had an email from the City Council to say they were revoking it.
Do you know if there is anywhere to make a general enquiry, complaint like some gov.co.uk? Or a solicitor?

by Rob Crawford

8:41 AM, 12th April 2019, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by BB at 12/04/2019 - 08:17The licence not only covers the condition of the property but also landlord's fitness to manage it. The new landlord would have to meet the same conditions as you did. As such a licence would need to be reapplied for. Yours would for not be transferable. You or the new landlord maybe entitled to a partial refund/discount, the fee structure in the application form may give an indication of that. As you had gone through the full licensing process I doubt there will be much of a refund. Why not just send a letter with a refund request and see what happens?


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