Worry after housing firm hikes charges

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CONCERNS have been raised after a housing association tried to raise a weekly service charge.

Residents at Roxburgh House in Locks Heath were left shocked when Hyde Housing sent out letters to inform them their weekly service charge of 59p could rise to as high as £49.95 per week.

Robert Hinchcliffe, who has lived in the block of flats for six years, said: ‘We got a letter to tell us that we were all facing an increase in the weekly service charge.

‘We were shocked and worried as many of us would never be able to afford that and it seemed ridiculous.’

Along with his neighbours, Robert contacted his local MP, Suella Fernandes.

He said: ‘The reason the weekly service charge was 59p to begin with is because the previous association had mucked up and so it was to be this price to sort that out and of course we expect the service charge to go up a few pounds each year but this is worrying for all of us.’

After a meeting with residents, organised by Fareham MP Suella Fernandes, Hyde Housing have promised to reduce the service charge to between £22 and £26.

Ms Fernandes said: ‘The fact that the weekly service charge estimate has been halved really shows that it was unreasonably high, and they have rightly committed to making some improvements to the property to ensure it is safe for residents.

Darren Fisher, Head of Service Charges at the Hyde Group said: ‘We are very sorry for the upset caused by the recent service charge estimate.

‘We met with residents on Wednesday and explained that we will be reducing their service charges and are looking at other ways of bringing costs down.’

Robert added: ‘Obviously this is a step in the right direction but this reduced charge has not been confirmed yet and an increase from 59p to £22 a week is still a lot of money.

‘We will be holding another meeting to ensure everyone in our building is happy with the reduced charge and keep fighting this issue.’