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??
55 Castleton Court