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Fury as bill to fix roof tops £18k
11:00am Tuesday 21st August 2012 in Basildon
IT is usually rogue traders who get criticised for ramping up the price of a job once the work is finished. Now a council has been accused of using similar tactics, by doubling the estimate it gave for reroofing two flats.
Paul Robbins and Lee Ruth, landlords who rent out a flat, in Roodegate, Basildon , said Basildon Council asked for an £8,000 contribution towards re-roofing the building, split between the two leaseholders.
It is a small block made up of a flat on the ground floor and another upstairs.
The freehold is held by Basildon Council, while the flats are leased out. When people own the leasehold of a flat in a block owned by a council, or housing association, they may sometimes have to contribute towards general maintenance of the building.
Mr Robbins said: “As a landlord you expect these kind of costs occasionally, but the original quote was about £8,000 – that would have been £4,000 per leaseholder in the block. That seemed a bit high, but we were prepared for that amount.”
He said when the work was finished the actual bill came through the door for £18,000, meaning £9,000 each between the two flats. He said: “I couldn’t believe how much the bill went up by. It was just the simple replacement of a flat roof.
“I have since been advised by someone in the trade this sort of job could have been done for around £5,000, so it would only have been £2,500 per flat.
“If that was the bill for one block, they must be paying similar amounts across the borough, so you have got to question the value for money for taxpayers.”
Mr Robbins also said Basildon was short of landlords in the borough, but charging such maintenance fees would force them out of the area.
A council spokesman said the original estimate for the job as a whole had been £7,000. He said the cost had risen during the work due to unforeseen circumstances. He said: “As with all roofing works, once you remove the old covering any other faults that are present have to be fixed, which result in a rise in costs to each tenant.
“The system we are using has a 20 year guarantee which offers good value for money and means there will be no further maintenance costs for this period.
“The council will assist leaseholders with a number of payment options available.”
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