Martijn van de Hel and Moira Lanters have successfully represented a real estate agency specialising in rentals in summary proceedings against the Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM). Cause for the proceedings was a penalty payment that ACM had imposed on the real estate agency for allegedly charging prohibited mediation costs to tenants.
In the summary proceedings, the court held that ACM acted in violation of the prohibition of arbitrariness by addressing only this real estate agency, while there are many other agencies in the region who also charge costs to tenants. This selective method of enforcement leads to the distortion of competition. According to the interim relief judge, ACM should have at least taken simultaneous action against a substantial number of competitors.
In addition, the Court in the summary proceedings acknowledged that the law leaves room for real estate agencies to charge costs - which are not related to the mediation for a rental agreement itself - to tenants. These could include costs for assistance in applying for a rent subsidy or for remission of municipal taxes.
As a result of the judgement both the penalty and the publication thereof are suspended. The rent intermediary can continue its business and ACM is not allowed to publish the name of the company.
ACM has decided not to appeal the judgement of the district court.