So disappointing

So then 6 people have signed up and posted.  That’s the exact number IV told me had replied to the original “consultation” letter.  I thought maybe they were lying, it seems not.

So obviously the vast majority of residents have no problem with this and are happy to be robbed of £60 per month.  They are either on benefits therefore don’t care or they have so much money to spare they can afford it.  Once again we see total apathy I have to say as a so called weak southerner I am astounded.  I have friends in London their HA tried this and they all REFUSED to pay it and the HA climbed down.  People power shame it doesn’t happen up here.

Anyway it seems IV will get away with this and remember they have the right to put it up every 6 months if they wish.  Let’s see what it is this time next year.

The apathy is staggering.

Steve Whittock

Not Right

There is a letter sent out i think to all tenants over the changes in direct debit from 1st April 2017. This is not right without resolving the matter at hand. Are they imposing the money on people or what is going? I think they should hold on . This increase will put people in difficult situation. My question now is what is the way forward?


Letter sent to IV last year

Hi All
Just joined.  Here is a copy of the email I sent to Irwell Valley on receipt of the service charge proposals in October last year.  Unusually for me I cannot find their reply and apart from one part of it cannot remember the wording .  The part I remember is that according to them they only had representations against the charge from less than 1% of the residents.  Really??  Have to say though don’t see many more signed up here.
Anyway you can see from my email to them how I feel about this wholly unjustifiable charge.
I will keep trying to find the reply.
Legally, I do not where we stand.  However, ethically and morally I think they are on very shaky ground.  Have to say after 8 happy years here my heart did sink last year when the notice of Tom Mannion’s untimely death was announced.  I had the feeling then, and it appears to be borne out now that he was the linchpin holding the Association together and that it would slide downhill very quickly.  I have noticed in all sorts of ways this is just the latest.
Steve Whittock
55 Castleton
Stephen Whittock
Wed 26/10/2016, 09:17


Like everyone else I have spoken to in Castleton Court, my jaw fell through the floor when I opened the letter concerning the proposed service charges.  Until I moved into Castleton 7 years ago I had always rented in the private sector. Never have service charges for the block been a separate charge but included in the rent.  The Landlord pays them and includes the costs in the rent.  In fact this is the reason that many choose to rent as it is the final payment and therefore no other financial considerations need be addressed.  You are the Landlord and therefore responsible obviously for the upkeep of the property any charges incurred for this of course must be passed on (which you do by renting out the individual flats).  If you are proposing to charge £13.56 pw service charge what am I actually paying £70 pw rent for???  Surely by virtue of the fact it is rent it should cover ALL costs pertaining to renting the property from you.

Onto the breakdown of the costs.

Communal Gas;  We pay an extortionate amount for the gas (heating and water)in each flat far more than fuel deal with British Gas or the like would cost.  The gas used for the 1 area heated (reception/ground floor) must come from the main feed and therefore cost should be included in the already over the odds cost we pump into the meter in each flat.  I also object for paying for gas when the heating is on in the middle of summer and it is by no stretch of the imagination cold  Many times this summer when outside temperatures were around 20c the heating in reception and the laundry room was on the heat was like a wall.  WASTE OF MONEY TENANTS SHOULD BE NOT BE PAYING THIS.

Laundry equipment;  This is not provided free of charge  Once again the amount we pay to use the facility should include ALL running costs.  There are many that don’t use it at all.  Why should they pay for something they don’t use?  A bit like charging road tax to someone who doesn’t have a car.

TV Aerial;  In the 7 years I have lived here the socket in my flat has never worked. I have paid for an expensive set top aerial and also subscribe to Virgin.  What am I paying you for?  Again something I don’t (can’t)use.

ALL other charges are directly incurred from owning the property and therefore any charge for them should be covered by the figure charged to your tenants in rent.  As for a charge to “manage” the scheme, as a property owner that is part of your job and that cost should be borne by you.

General comments.  I am sorry but this seems to me (and others) a blatant and cynical attempt to increase rents through the back door.  In the 7 years I have been here I have been so impressed by Irwell Valley, sadly in the last 6 months this has waned.   Not only is the amount questionable but to expect tenants to find an extra £13.56 pw is simply not feasible especially as this year Council Tax was increased to cover what Government should be paying for and of course this has to be paid even by those on benefits.   You also supply a chart showing alleged average charges in Tameside.  For a 2 bed property this is shown as £6.44 (I assume per week).  You then show Irwell Valley as £6.06 hardly a huge difference.  However my question is why is this figure shown and then you try and charge £13.56 pw??

As if this isn’t already an insult to your tenants you also state that you are entitled to vary the Tenancy Agreement up to twice a year.  Meaning you have carte blanche it appears to increase these costs every 6 months.  As a so called ethical organisation and responsible landlord you cannot hand on heart justify this as being fair to your tenants.

You must rethink this.  I have been chair of Residents Associations in private rented blocks and we would never have got away with this.  I urge you to think again.  These actions will lead to yet more hard working people struggling to keep a roof over their head and is being caused by your short sighted rent policies in the past.

Again what am I paying £70 a week for if these charges are not included??

Stephen Whittock

55 Castleton Court

Tenancy 27398


Has anybody contacted the press? I would do it myself but I’m hopeless at composing a passable letter.


Thank you AZreal for the information


    Service Charges
    2.33 In addition to their rent, tenants may also pay service charges. Rents are generally taken to include all charges associated with the occupation of a property, such as maintenance and general housing management services. Service charges usually reflect additional services which may not be provided to every tenant, or which may be connected with communal facilities rather than being particular to the occupation of a dwelling. Service charges are subject to separate legal requirements and are limited to covering the cost of providing the services.
    2.34 Authorities are expected to set reasonable and transparent service charges which reflect the service being provided to tenants. For social rent, they are also expected to identify service charges separately to the rent charge.
    2.35 Service charges are not governed by the same factors as rent. However,
    authorities should endeavor to keep increases for service charges within the limit on rent changes, of CPI + 1 percentage point, to help keep charges affordable.
    2.36 The only exception to this expectation is where new or extended services are introduced, where we expect an additional charge may need to be made. Where this is the case, authorities are expected to consult appropriately with tenants before introducing new or extended services and associated charges.

    These rise in charges does not seem to be in line with the government guidelines on either increase in rent nor increase in service charge.

    There are no new or extended services that would qualify for the exception noted in 2.36 There is, in fact, a reduction in services in getting rid of the concierge service. Expecting us to pay more for less.

    CPI – Consumer price index rose by 1.8% from 2016 to 2017

    This limits the increase in service charge to 2.8%

    not the 20% that is proposed

Service Charges

We have received notification of the new service charges for Fitzgerald Court.  This is absolutely outrageous.  How on earth do they expect people to just pay an extra £60.00 per month.  We have received two notification letters in separate names and there is no explanation as to whether it £15.00 a week for each person or each property.  This is supposed to be a non-profitable organization and yet they put these charges onto people’s rents without listening to the difficulties this will put people into financially.  We don’t even receive a cost of living rise in our wages that would cover this extortionate rise.  The breakdown they have shown is also a joke.  We wouldn’t mind paying an extra £5.00 a week but really £15.00 is just greedy.  These charges will physically put people into debt.  Surely what they are doing is against the law.

We also cannot believe they are getting rid of concierge service, it has taken nearly three years to clean up the flats and now we just dread to think what it will be like without them.  Again all about the greed of the manager of the concierge service,  feel so sorry for all the staff that has worked so hard to provide a wonderful service and now have no jobs to go to whilst the manager is holidaying it up with their hard earned wages.

We will definitely be moving to private affordable accommodation in the near future as will not be paying Irwell Valleys extortionate rise in rent.

Absolute disgrace

The new service charge is a joke.
I thought this was supposed to be affordable housing? How is sticking a £60 charge on top of the existing rent affordable!?
I wouldn’t have minded paying for the service charge as such if we had of kept the brilliant consierge service.

I have two questions:
1. Was Irwell Valleys’ budget so much in the red last year that to balance the books this year they are making us pay for the service charges and getting rid of the consierge service?
If the figures are correct of why the service charges are what they are (£60 a month) and the amount they stated it would cost per resident to keep the consierge service (£180 a month); this means they are saving £240 per month per resident compared to the last financial year.
2. What exactly does my rent pay for? We’ve had a breakdown of everything except what our rent actually pays for.

If you take the above figure and multiply this by the approx. 182 flats in Fitzgerald, Southey and Castleton, it means they are saving/gaining £44,640 per month across these three buildings. That’s £535,680 per year.
This is on top of the almost £60k they make per month on the standard rent alone.

Where’s my money going!?

NO for Irwell Valley barbaric practice !!!

The Irwell Valley wants to increase my rent nearly 20% without any discuss to us.

What’s wrong with them?

Is any employer which wants to increase my salary about 20%?

I strongly disagree to change my rent by the “new service charge”.

Nobody from Irwell Valley has been asking me about it.

Nobody from Irwell Valley has been trying to make an offer for me.

I have not signed any changes to my contract.

I promised them, if they take some money from my bank account, I’ll make a “small claim” against them because they have not my permission to do this.

What kind of company can charge you for around £70 more a month than in a previous month, just like that?