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HMO – licence fees

Many LA licence fees for HMOs are unlawfully high.

An L recently challenged the HMO licence renewal fee charged by Richmond, which covered the cost of the licence but also included some of the council’s costs in running the HMO scheme. The legal challenge was based on a breach of the EU Services Directive which says that ‘any charges’ of a ‘competent authority’ must be ‘reasonable and proportionate… and must not exceed the cost of the procedures and formalities’. In this instance, Richmond was charging not only for the cost of the licence, but administrative costs associated with the licensing scheme. Accordingly, the fee was unlawful, and Richmond could only charge a fee that reflected the cost of processing the licence application.

This High Court decision will cause consternation to many LAs. Gaskin v Richmond upon Thames [2018] EWHC 1996 (Admin) (this case report is available in full at www.bailii.org). Source: PainSmith Solicitors.

 

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