Anger over charges for Norwich leaseholders
The fairness of the charges imposed on thousands of leaseholders by Norwich City Council has been questioned, with claims some maintenance and repair bills are far too high.
And council bosses have admitted, under the terms of its partnership deal for such work, the authority does get a share of profits made on the contracts.
Norwich has some 2,700 leaseholders – people who bought former council homes on 125 year leases – who have to pay a number of charges for maintenance, lighting and communal issues.
But members of the Norwich Leaseholders Association have criticised the council over the handling of the repair and maintenance contracts.
In one case, two leaseholders in Derby Street have been told they must pay £15,000 each to pay to replace half a dozen step treads and apply protective paint to a communal staircase.
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The association says a completely new, precast, staircase in reinforced concrete could be bought for less than £10,000.
Another leaseholder has received a bill for £8,500 for her contribution towards the renewal of a communal stairway.
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David Feltham, chairman of the Norwich Leaseholders Association, whose son is one of the Derby Street leaseholders, said: 'These type of bills are far too high and Norwich City Council should be more sympathetic towards leaseholders regarding such issues.'
He said the city council relied on NPS, a profit-making part of Norfolk County Council's arms-length company Norse Group, to handle the contracts – and makes money from profitable contracts.
A spokesman for Norwich City Council confirmed that, under the agreement, 50pc of NPS Norwich profit is returned to the council.
But he said the council's procurement team did have oversight of the contracts. He said: 'We have a responsibility to maintain our property and communal areas, including external staircases, to ensure the safety of all residents and their visitors.'
The leaseholders association is keen to make contact with more of the city's leaseholders. Anyone interested in getting involved should email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org