Tenant anger at ‘paying twice’ for concierge

James Oldham

James Oldham

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TENANTS living in a block of flats in Wigan are outraged by having to pay twice for a service they believe they are not getting.

Jim Oldham, who has lived in Crompton House, Scholes, for 16 years said he already begrudges paying for concierge services as it is paid for by the Central Fund from council tax, he should not be forking out for it again.

So the leaseholder said he was mortified to receive his latest bill showing a 24 per cent rise in the charge.

Wigan and Leigh Housing (WALH) has since explained that the calculation was an error, and that any increases have gone up in line with inflation and previous prices.

But Mr Oldham argues that tenants should not be paying for the charge at all.

He said: “From April last year, the concierge service moved to Central Watch, which now operate the CCTV, and this is paid for using the Central Fund. I pay council tax, but still have to pay this concierge charge, so I feel that the leaseholders are being doubly ripped off.

“We are the only people in Wigan being charged separately for something which should be included within the council tax. I have it in writing that Central Watch does not provide the concierge service to leaseholders of Crompton House. The organisation is not prepared to answer the door to let anyone into the car park.

“We also have a problem tenant, who has friends who have been found in various locations within the flats taking drugs.”

Syd Hall, tenants and leaseholders representative for the Scholes flats, said: “Why have WALH continued to levy this charge as they did before the transfer? We are paying twice for duties we are not getting.

“Also it has been confirmed that the tenants and residents cannot expect the same service as before the transfer.”

Chief executive of Wigan and Leigh Housing, Ashley Crumbley, said: “The concierge service offers extra security measures to people living in the tower blocks in Scholes Village.

“This includes managing the 127 CCTV cameras serving the council tower blocks and challenging unauthorised entrants.

“The facility provides a direct service to all residents of the flats, both tenants and leaseholders.

“The cost of the service is apportioned fairly between tenants and leaseholders; tenants pay for this through their rent and leaseholders pay a service charge.

“This approach has been validated following a previous challenge which went to a tribunal.

“Potential purchasers of flats are advised before they buy them that there will be service charges so they can consider the ongoing costs before they commit to buy.

“A bill recently sent out to leaseholders over-estimated the increase in the charge and we apologise for this error.

“This has now been corrected and we are sending the revised bill, and a written apology, to the leaseholders of Scholes Village.”