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'This new service is tailored to the needs of these residents'
4:58pm Tuesday 11th September 2012 in News
Affinity Sutton has released a statement after tenants started a petition against a “pointless” surcharge.
The retired residents in Oak Farm, Arundel Drive, were left feeling ripped off when a charge of £10.72 was added on to their monthly rent bills.
They said the money is supposed to pay for services such as providing advice about the area and tenancy issues – something that is available for free via other sources.
The weekly payments are also supposed to cover the cost of a repairs manager, who some tenants claim they have never seen. Twenty-seven out of 38 tenants signed the petition, but petition leader David Burcombe said he is yet to reach the other 11 people.
Richard Bellis, acting supported housing director, said the “enhanced management service” was applied because residents favoured it after a consultation.
He added: “This new service is tailored to the needs of these residents who have told us that they value having regular contact with a designated member of staff.
“It also includes additional assistance around accessing care services, enhanced help with repairs and tenancy issues, and information and advice around benefits.
“This exceeds our statutory landlord service to general needs residents.
“The cost of this enhanced service is £10.72 a week and we would like to stress that the new charge is eligible for housing benefit and that no residents will be asked to pay more. “
“This is good news for our older residents at Oak Farm and Borehamwood, who at no extra cost to themselves, will be receiving an enhanced service.”
David Burcombe, 70, said he is “furious” with the response and plans to take his case higher.
“They cannot charge for a free service – it just is not possible. I will fight this to see hat justice is done.”