Clayhall residents handed £23k bills for major works after 'years of neglect' by council
PUBLISHED: 17:00 27 December 2019 | UPDATED: 11:23 03 January 2020
Residents of an Clayhall housing association were shocked to receive a bill for £23,000 per flat to make up for "years of neglect by the council".
Leaseholders of Gaysham Hall in Longwood Gardens told the Recorder they feel bullied by the council after receiving massive bills for major works and not having proof that they're getting a good deal for the money they have to fork over.
Residents said some of the work that is proposed, which is estimated to cost £2.2million in total, is long overdue but other things are not fit for purpose and they want to get a second opinion as to whether the high costs are justified.
Leaseholder Fraz Butt said the way that Redbridge Council has handled the issue is "akin to corporate bullies."
He said: "It is very clear the estate has been neglected for some considerable time for it to have gotten the way it is.
"Buildings don't just become like this overnight. This only happens after years and years of neglect."
The residents' association believes the council has not kept the estate in good and substantial repair and condition as they are required to do by the lease and are now passing on the costs to them.
The amount owed per home varies but estimates range from as high as £17,000 to £23,000 that will need to be paid over five years once the work is completed late next year.
Furthermore residents say the estimates keep rising, with some tripling over the course of two years, and they have no idea how high the final bill will be.
Alan Sandford, 58, has lived there his entire life said the bill he got in 2017/2018 were for £8,000 but that estimate shot up to £17,000 in 2019.
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He said: "As a collective of elderly, young and working class people trying to pay bills on a monthly basis, having costs rise by over double could well mean that many are made homeless or at the very least, critically impacted with the unjust costs."
Onur, the chairman of the residents' association received his first letter in May 2017 estimating costs at £8,300 and this year that figure rose to £23,000.
Sudesh Kapur, an 87 year-old pensioner who supports his widowed daughter, was shocked to get his bill for £18,000.
He said: "My pension barely covers paying the council tax and my living expenses, how can I afford to pay this now?"
The residents are raising £5,000 to independently pay for a surveyor to see whether the bills they've received from the council are justified.
A Redbridge Council spokesman said the council had made a number of "significant improvements" at Gaysham Hall over the last 15 years, including lift installation, carried out at no costs to leaseholders, as well as the installation of a replacement communal water tank.
"The council has taken steps to keep leaseholders updated, providing the Gaysham Hall Residents' Association, with a schedule of repairs undertaken on each block since 2007," the spokesman said.
"It is important to stress that we have not issued bills to leaseholders.
"The figures quoted are purely an estimate of the scope of works, which have yet to be agreed.
"A year-long consultation started in January 2019 and formally ended on November 29, 2019. During that time, all residents were consulted in writing and face to face with several meetings.
"We would like to reassure residents they will have various options to meet the costs, including paying by instalment."