April 23 2014 Latest news:
Sunday, February 16, 2014
A woman, who was forced to leave her home in Langley Court, St Ives, has seen some of her costs increase by more than 10 times.
Her son, Michael Crossland, said his 91-year-old mother was given details of her new rent and charges as she signed an agreement just days before her move to Windsor Court, Somersham, on December 12.
She had been at Langley Court for 25 years but had to move as owners Luminus plan to replace the sheltered housing with a £7million extra care facility.
Mr Crossland said he was stunned when he saw the weekly service charge – to replace bulbs and preserve the upkeep of the building – had soared from £3.93 at the St Ives home, to £46.32 at her new place.
As well as the new charge, Mr Crossland’s mother will also have to pay for electricity, which was included at Langley Court.
He said it means her living expenses, not including food, had doubled and are now higher than her pension income, forcing her to use her savings.
Mr Crossland, 62, of The Paddocks, Woodhurst, told The Hunts Post: “My mother has been treated appallingly. We thought that when she moved there wouldn’t be much, if any, difference between rates and no one told us there would be.
“Six days before she moved, my mother was given her new agreement. Her rent has gone up, which we are fine with – she has gone from a bedsit to a bigger flat – but it is the service charge that stunned me. She is going from paying about £370 a month in rent and service charge to more than £750 a month.
“It is a massive increase and when I have asked why there is such a difference, Luminus can’t explain.”
Five Langley Court residents have moved to Windsor Court, with two more due to follow.
A Luminus spokesman said: “Service charges vary between sheltered schemes because they reflect the size, type and range of services provided to residents. The cost of providing these services is shared between residents.
“Residents who are eligible for housing benefit may receive benefits to cover all or part of their contribution to the service charges.”