Wiltshire

Freeholder 'devastated' by management firm's £13k bill

Judy, homeowner
Image caption Judy says she wants to challenge the estate management firm

A homeowner says she is "devastated" after being told to pay £13,530 for redecoration work by a firm which looks after her housing estate.

Judy, who has terminal cancer, lives in a freehold terrace near Salisbury.

The 78-year-old, said: "I was devastated, I thought I can't go on with this company. It's fleecehold."

Anstey Property Management looks after the communal areas of the over-55s estate and has said it cannot comment on specific cases.

It also said all demands were made in accordance with the proper processes.

Image caption Residents have received invoices for planned maintenance work

The estate where Judy lives has 25 properties, of which 17 are freehold and the remainder leasehold apartments.

She, along with other residents, have received invoices ranging between £13,250 and £15,180 for planned work to their 12-year-old properties.

Her annual service charge is £2,324 and she believed some of this money would fund major works like this project.

Planned work involves all the exteriors of the properties and a small site office being repainted, as well as roof and gutter maintenance.

Some other residents also say they cannot and will not pay the bill.

Image caption All the properties on the estate have been charged thousands of pounds by Anstey

Campaigners have been lobbying for a change in law over the issue of service charges on newer build housing estates, which are currently unregulated.

They want more rights to challenge how much they can be charged.

Judy has also raised the issue with her local MP, Conservative John Glen.

He said: "I have urged - due to the pandemic - that the proposed works are suspended for the time being, and that ultimately they are re-evaluated in terms of necessity and cost."

He has also written to Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, to bring in legislation "as a matter of priority".

Judy added: "Everybody says it's just a ridiculous amount of money.

"I would love for them to just care for us; care for us as people and not machines for making money."

Anstey said residents should contact them directly if they experience any financial difficulty paying.

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