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Council leaseholder’s anger over service charge

PUBLISHED: 18:46 22 October 2016

View from the top of Havenbridge House.
Town Hall.

October 2015.

Picture: James Bass

View from the top of Havenbridge House. Town Hall. October 2015. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk © 2015

A Gorleston woman is hoping to find strength in numbers as she looks to connect with other council leaseholders who have been suddenly landed with a £120 management service charge.

In all the 30 years Barbara Storey has lived in her Kings Road home she has only ever paid an annual ground rent fee of £10 and for one-off costs when work has been done.

However under a council review all leaseholders are liable to pay a management fee of £120.09, a change affecting 333 people.

In a statement, Great Yarmouth Borough Council said: “Before tenants in flats and maisonettes opt to buy their homes at discount under the national Right to Buy scheme, they are made aware they will be liable to pay an annual service charge to contribute towards the costs of day-to-day repairs and maintenance of the overall building.

“As part of this charge, all leaseholders are liable to pay a management fee of £120.09, which helps to cover the council’s reasonable costs of managing their lease. The council does not make a profit. Previously, this was covered through their rent.

“The council has recently reviewed leasehold service charges to ensure they accurately reflect the cost of the services and management costs provided per block of flats/maisonettes and produced more detailed information on how the charges have been calculated.

“The management fee has always been chargeable to all leaseholders, however the review identified that a minority of leaseholders were not being charged the fee, despite being liable.

“To ensure fair treatment, all leaseholders are now charged the management fee. The charge will not be backdated. Leaseholders seeking further information about their service charges, or have questions around payment, are encouraged to contact the council.”

Mrs Storey, 64, however said the charge was “totally unacceptable” and that she was prepared to go to arbitration to prove it was unfair.

She said: “I find it totally unacceptable and I know my neighbours will do too. I realise that I have to pay maintenance charges but they have not got to do anything to manage our lease if we are not having anything carried out.

“The people in my vicinity can get together but we would like to get in touch with other people who are in the same situation to see collectively what they think about it.”

Contact Mrs Storey at bstorey1@icloud.com.

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