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Tenants in Woodburn Close, Hendon, angry over 'unnecessary' repair works
Neighbours claim they are being charged an “unreasonable and extortionate” amount for unnecessary repairs to their block of flats.
Barnet Homes have sent tenants in Woodburn Close, Hendon, bills of £1,300 to pay for new fire safety doors, fire stickers and front doors.
Many have been left furious by the cost of the work and have carried out their own research to find cheaper quotes, but claim their efforts have fallen on deaf ears.
Josh Abeles, an IT analyst with a one-year-old daughter, said: “Not everyone can afford this. Some are surviving off a pension and it’s a struggle.
“It’s unfair and seems very superfluous because there’s nothing wrong with the current doors. It’s just a way to make money.
“It is very out of the blue - we have only been given one month's notice to pay this and they are very tough. We know it’s legal but it’s very unreasonable.”
The £1,300 - to be paid on top of the monthly £120 maintenance cost - includes £666 for new front doors and £10 for new fire stickers.
Cheaper options found included 50p for fire stickers and front doors for around £400.
There will be a further consultation about the plans at 10am tomorrow morning (Tuesday) but as the majority of residents work during the day, they will be unable to attend.
Four years ago, disgruntled tenants were forced to pay around £7,000 to replace the windows, guttering, pipes and scaffolding - work they claim was poorly done.
New father Nic Kalmus, whose son is six weeks old, said: “It’s extortionate, totally draining, and this will set us back. We can pay in instalments but it’s not the point.
“There isn’t really anything wrong with the current doors so we aren’t sure why they are doing this in the first place. It's unnecessary and expensive.
“We won’t give up - we’ll fight them all the way.”
A statement from Barnet Homes said its leasehold services team had written to the residents about the cost of the work that "urgently" needed to be carried out this month.
It explained that in October 2010, Barnet Council had held a borough-wide fire risk assessment in to ensure all its properties complied with the Fire Safety order 2005.
Barnet Homes told tenants which contractors it had appointed in June 2011, and in August 2013 sent a notice explaining how much the work would cost.
But it said contractors had "prematurely" told some tenants about options for fire safety doors, which may have caused confusion, and tenants' cheaper quotes did not include fixtures and fittings or labour.
The statement made clear contractors had been appointed in a competitive tendering process, and added: “We appreciate works of this nature place financial burden on leaseholders, but they are essential in the interests of resident safety.
"In all our communication with leaseholders, we ask any individuals in financial difficulty to contact their leasehold housing officer as soon as they can, so we can come with a payment plan suitable to their personal circumstances."
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