Tamworth residents being forced by council to pay thousands for 'unnecessary' roof repairs
ITV News Central Reporter Wesley Smith has been speaking to people in Tamworth about roof repairs
Residents in Tamworth say they are being asked to pay a "ridiculous" amount for "unnecessary" roof repairs to their flats.
Leaseholders to properties on Lilac Road say the council, who own the freehold, are asking for £9,000 per property for roof repairs, despite finding quotes elsewhere for a third of the price.
They say they don't believe all the work is "even necessary" and that they're having to take the cost for council tenants living in the same blocks who won't have to pay.
Helen Hadley and Patricia Pallett, who are leaseholders for three properties, are leading the campaign asking the borough council to re-think.
Ms Hadley said: "We've had three independent quotes and the most expensive was £12,000.
"The council are trying to charge us £36,000 - which equates to £9,000 per property.
"We've been asking continuously to see a quote and the breakdown of their cost - to see how they've got to £36,000 and we still haven't received it."
When asked what they want the outcome to be, Patricia Pallett said: "To realise that we're not going to pay it - we can't pay it."
"We haven't got the money to pay it, but we will go down to a realistic amount, £12,000 or £15,000.
"We don't mind, but £36,000 - no," she said, shaking her head. "We haven't got it."
Anne Warham, a leaseholder of a flat on Lilac Road, said: "I'm not going to throw it. They can send me to prison first and, I mean, I might be 77-years-old but I'm not going to take it anymore."
Another said: "I am 93, nearly 94, and I've been here 65 years and I didn't know whether it would affect some of the other people health wise, you know. I'm worrying about it."
Two others added: "We know we've got to pay something, but come on, you know, this is ridiculous. It's a ridiculous amount of money."
Tamworth Borough Council are responsible for keeping the buildings in good condition for any social housing tenants and leaseholders that live there.
Talking about the position leaseholder's find themselves in, Independent Councillor Michelle Cook said: "They are tied into a contract, like anything there are political decisions.
"There has been times historically that leaseholders have not been asked to pay the full cost, due to certain circumstances so there is always opportunities."
Conservative Councillor Chris Cook added: "We've now got the working planning group which will now access all the communication issues etc.
"As councillors reading all the paperwork which we've had off the residents, we believe that bit of the process also needs that closer bit of scrutiny."
Cllr Alex Farrell, a councillor from Tamworth Borough Council, issued a statement which said: "We recognise and understand how people may be feeling when met with a large bill to pay.
"Tamworth Borough Council has a contract for all repairs and maintenance of their properties.
"This contract was formally awarded after a competitive tender process and was awarded to both the highest-scoring tender and to the most competitively priced."
“As Tamworth Borough Council we do recognise and understand how people may be feeling when met with a large bill to pay.
“Every leaseholder, when they purchased their property, should have been made aware by their conveyancer of their responsibilities around contributing to maintenance charges.
"Unfortunately, if leaseholders were not made aware of this when buying the property, they would need to address this with their conveyancer.
“In this case, we now have to replace the roof of a number of properties, and these costs are shared among all impacted properties.
"We do not make any gains through these charges as they reflect the direct cost to the council.
“Where a payment plan is needed, we’ll work with individual leaseholders to develop a personalised payment plan.
"The contribution from social housing tenants is already part of their rent, so they would not pay anything further.”