Anger at council homes fees rise

Ian Morris of South Shore who was paying �65 a year for council management costs but now is paying �194
Ian Morris of South Shore who was paying �65 a year for council management costs but now is paying �194
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COUNCIL house owners are facing hundreds of pounds extra in costs after bosses said they had been “undercharging” management fees.

Management charges for leaseholders who have bought their former council house have risen on average by £130.

The council admitted it had increased the costs to a more “realistic level” after discovering it had been undercharging for some time.

But residents say they have been “unfairly stung” by the dramatic rise.

Ian Morris, of Molyneux Drive, South Shore, bought his home 12 years ago.

He said: “I’m absolutely disgusted, it’s unbelievable, I was flabbergasted when I realised what had happened.

“Every year I pay a service charge made up of administration costs, service maintenance and utility supplies.

“Last year my total bill was £285 but this year it had gone up to £435 – I was mortified.

“When I looked closely at the breakdown I noticed my electricity charge had gone from £8 to £22 and the management administration cost had gone from £65 to £194.

“I’m a taxi driver, things are tough as it is with fuel prices on the up.”

Mr Morris, 56, said when he phoned the council to argue the price he was told there had been consultation.

He said; “Apparently leaseholders had received letters explaining there would be an increase but I never did.

“I have been away for the past few weeks but checked all my mail and there was nothing there.

“It is just very unfair for us to pay for the mistake, if they have been undercharging then gradually increase the cost year on year.”

Peter Jefferson, chief executive of Blackpool Coastal Housing, said: “We have recently been reviewing all our costs to ensure they are fair, appropriate and transparent.

“We’ve realised we’ve been undercharging for some time. Following consultation with the lease holders we’ve increased our fee this year to bring it to a more realistic level.”