Landlord Peter Gaskin has challenged House in Multiple Occupation licensing costs which were imposed on him by Richmond Council in London. When he applied to renew his license on a shared house, the council asked for two fees. One fee was the application fee, the other fee was a contribution to the costs of running the council's HMO licensing scheme which amounted to £1,799. Peter Gaskin paid the processing fee but refused the additional cost and was then prosecuted for running an HMO without a licence.
Gaskin challenged this decision in the High Court and three judges agreed the fee breached European Union rules as Gaskin provided a service under the EU Directive 2006/123/EC (the Services Directive). This directive states that Council's can only charge application fees and not fees for managing their schemes.
This decision means that Landlords may be overpaying shared house licensing fees and could claim refunds from local councils if their fees included any amount above the cost of processing the application. However, it is very likely that Richmond Council will appeal against this decision.