‘Maintenance charge increase will cripple us’

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Flat owners in the Maltings in Long Melford have criticised a proposed maintenance charge increase of nearly 100 per cent.

Simon Hoskin, who lives in a one-bedroom flat in the development with his partner Kerry Humphreys, both 26, said the rise was discussed at the annual meeting with the management company Block Management PLC, based in Brundon Lane, Sudbury.

Currently Mr Hoskin pays £152 service charge plus his mortgage which totals around £550 a month.

The rise comes as the management company is planning on redecorating the exterior of the building, work that has been quoted at £85,000.

The service charge is being increased to nearly £300 a month, just short of a 100 per cent increase.

“£700 a month including my mortgage, I could buy a house,” said Mr Hoskin. “We have no say in the matter because our lease states we have to pay regardless of the value.

“I am a first time buyer with my partner and we are obviously trying to get by in the current economic market. This increase will put severe pressure on us.”

Mr Hoskin said the management company had been aware of the maintenance needing to go ahead for the past four years but had taken no action.

“Some tenants have got rotten windows,” he added. “Some tenants are unaware of this increase due to not attending the AGM and I’m sure it will come as a very unpleasant surprise.

“I now wont be able to sell the property due to the high service charges, and we are going to struggle to pay.

“We are now stuck between a rock and a hard place.”

Mr Hoskin explained one resident had recently paid a large sum of money to have bespoke wooden double glazing installed, however, he will still have to pay the rise in service charge even though he will not be benefiting from the works.

“We have requested that we all have PVC double glazing fitted which would work out cheaper than the ongoing maintenance but the management company have refused because the lease only states they can repair,” said Mr Hoskin.

“However we are free to arrange the windows ourselves but regardless we will all have to pay the 100 per cent increase.

“Me and my partner are both young and struggling in the current economic climate and this increase will cripple us.”

The Free Press approached Bloc Management for a comment on the situation but received no response.