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Norwich leaseholders face bill hike

Norwich City Council is set to increase the management fees it charges more than 2,500 leaseholders.

Norwich City Council is set to increase the management fees it charges more than 2,500 leaseholders.

EDP pics © 2007

Families who lease their homes from Norwich City Council look set for a sizeable hike in the management fees they pay.

The city council will this week consider hikes to the fees, which will increase the income the authority gets from them by more than £183,000 a year.

There are just under 2,600 leaseholders across the city - people who have bought flats or maisonettes from the city council.

Because the city council retains the freehold on those properties, the council remains responsible for the maintenance of the structure, the communal areas of the block and the estate.

And that means families have to pay service charges towards those costs and any major work which is carried out, with a management fee on top of that.

At the moment that is a flat fee of £40, which the council says pays for the costs of administering the lease.

But the city council says at the moment, they have to raid the housing revenue account to cover that sum, because the current charge does not meet the cost of the services provided.

The need to review the charge was highlighted by the Audit Commission two years ago and the council’s cabinet will decide on Wednesday how best to increase the charges.

After consultation with the Norwich Leaseholder Association (NLA) the options on the table are for an increase from a flat fee of £40 to an average of £111.22 or for charges to be worked out through a more complicated formula based on individual homes and what services they receive.

If agreed, the new fees would be introduced in October this year and, based on a recommendation from the NLA, no leaseholder would pay a management fee of more than £200 for at least three years.

Brenda Arthur, leader of Norwich City Council said: “We are doing this because the Audit Commission did highlight it as something we needed to address, while what we will be charging will be comparable to other authorities.
“We have done it in conjunction with the NLA and would like to thank them for their help and we will ensure we continue to deliver good value for money.”

• Do you have a story about a local council? Call Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375 or email dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

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