Houseboats fee increases far outstrip inflation

Post date: Aug 28, 2020 1:29:49 PM

As you can see, since the Houseboat Formula was first set, the annual increase have been much greater than inflation or even CPIH (The Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs). Supposedly the PLA fees increase in line with the moorings fees charged by river landlords in London but it is difficult to believe these have risen by so much.

There are at least 3 issues:

1) The fact that each increase pushes up mooring owners' charges in the basket thus self inflating the PLA increase the next year.

2) The fact that they charge extra for amenities like our tidal grid and other people's garden barges although such amenities are included in the mooring fees charged by landlords used in their basket - so double counting.

3) The method of calculation - e.g. which marinas chosen for the basket and weighting. I had assumed that they could only rig it once to get a high fee and thereafter would have to follow actual increases but they seem to be doing it each year.

As part of the original formula being imposed, a Disputes Resolution Panel was meant to be established: "Dispute Resolution A three-stage dispute resolution process is proposed with (1) the licensee stating their case to the PLA licensing department and, if unresolved, referring the matter to (2) a Dispute Resolution Panel. The PLA could also refer cases to the Panel. The Panel would comprise the District Valuer (who would chair the Panel) and two other voluntary members who possess the necessary skills and are fully independent of the parties and outcome of the case. The Panel’s remit is to consider disputes relating to the elements within the formula or its application. Cases should normally take one day and the PLA would pay the cost of the District Valuer, unless he/she considered the case vexatious. While the Panel’s decision cannot be binding because either party still has the right to seek arbitration (stage 3), it is hoped that arbitration would be less likely once the matter had been heard by the Panel. "

OPLAC's spreadsheet, from which the graph is derived, is below.