We have received the following from Ged Walsh, of Arkle Court, Chester:
Dear Sirs, Madams and Readers
I write as a pensioner homeowner living in a Retirement Block built in 2000 by McCarthy & Stone with freeholders Fairhold Homes (No4) Ltd and Peverel / FirstPort as the Service Managers.
We purchased our flat in 2003 in the northern City of Chester at the cost of £110,000 which was placed in the Council Tax band of “D” which our homeowners find very high for the amenities provided for this retirement building.
Our service charges for the development when we purchased in 2003 were set at £74,264 per year to be paid and divided between 58 one and two bedroom flats but unbelievably had risen to £113,444 by August 2014 what a percentage rise for the elderly on a pension.
We also feel we are overcharged for a live in house manager and her accommodation and service charges for a basic 31 hours a week, we have also lost and our guest room concession averaging £1000 income per year for challenging the leaseholders about these charges. . .
The Retirement building has also continually suffered with structural roofing defects and faults causing ongoing repairs and maintenance works since built, blame being pointed mainly towards poor design, build, workmanship and its age, which is believe it or not is still only 15 years old this year!,
The building has had at least 2 full roofing surveys many major repair works plus its yearly inspections and maintenance work all in all costing over a six figure sum!
I feel we have been misguided, misrepresented and mismanaged since we purchased.
At our age the homeowners who purchased at Arkle Court in its infancy years have done well to live through these high taxes, service charge increases, repairs and the recession, never mind all the stress and anxiety, caused by all these concerns and worries of our problematic roof and its structure.
I think us residents and pensioners in this sheltered accommodation now deserve and are at the very least owed a truthful explanation by these companies’, the council, and this government for showing the need and reason for these charges and percentage increases enforced on us elderly homeowners.
Please do not advise me to present my case to or through the service managers complaints procedures or Property Ombudsman I have taken that route and found it time consuming, frustrating, stressful and costly taking years without any end result, believe me I have been campaigning and battling these systems since 2003.