Proposal for extra service charge for Thanet council high rise tenants and leaseholders

Trove Court and Kennedy House are among those with patrols and waking watch services

Tenants and leaseholders in Thanet council’s six towerblocks will be issued with a new service charge of £133 per year to pay for the employment of two new, dedicated housing response officers.

If approved the charge will be introduced from April 1 next year.

The aim is to fund the £62,650 annual cost of the service which will mean the two officers work solely at high rise blocks Invicta House in Margate, Trove Court and Kennedy House and Staner Court in Ramsgate and also Brunswick Court and Harbour Towers in Ramsgate.

Last month Cabinet members backed proposals for  two new contracts related to the isle’s council-owned blocks. One was for cleaning services in communal areas and a second was for security patrols and waking watch services,

The twice nightly patrols at Staner Court, Trove Court, Kennedy House, Brunswick Court, Harbour Towers and Invicta House have been  responding to issues, including rubbish and other items left in communal areas, noise and antisocial behaviour, blocked rubbish chutes and activations of fire alarm systems.

The patrols record and report all issues through to the council’s Housing Management officers so that any follow up actions needed can be arranged.

A document for Thanet council Cabinet members says: “More resources are required to improve the cleanliness and appearance of our tower blocks. This can be achieved by creating two new HRO roles within the TLS (Tenant and Leaseholder) structure. To finance the two new roles, it is recommended that the council introduce an additional service charge to the tenants and leaseholders of these blocks.”

Thanet council says it receives many complaints about litter, flytipping and weeds but ‘the barrier’ to dealing with issues to a higher standard is the number of frontline staff it has out and about on the estates. The report adds: “We therefore need to find a way to increase the number of HRO’s to improve our service provision.”

A council consultation asking if tenants and leaseholders would support increased housing officers was responded to by 76 out of 455 (16.7%) people. Of those who took part 46% were in favour.

A breakdown of the increased costs that will be covered by the new service charge – which equates to £2.56 a week – is:

  • 2 x HRO Officers £55,700
  • Officer training/equipment etc.  £1k per annum
  • New van (approx 5 year life)  £20k / 5 years
  •  Fuel charge (approx £60 per month ) £720
  • Insurance premium for van £1,010
  • Road tax estimate £220
  • Annual Cost Of Service £62,650

Number of Units in tower blocks 471

Annual charge per dwelling £133.01 divided by 52 weeks £2.56per week

Income from leaseholders 5,457.92 Income from tenants 57,241.60

Total Income £62,699.52

For residents claiming Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit, service charges for communal areas can be claimed and  they will not be financially impacted

The blocks consist of 9% leasehold, purchased under the Right to Buy legislation; 39% sublets and 77% of tenants on benefits

Cabinet members will discuss the proposal at a meeting on December 16. If agreed the proposal will go before full council to be approved.

20 Comments

  1. Is this a joke a friend of mine lives in staner court. They said that they never see any night petrol walking around the block. They just sit in the flat watching TV or playing music. When they first arrived they walked around 5 or 6 times a day. As for the cleaners the place is disgusting the tower block look so run down I can’t see how they can charge anyone rent for living there but no matter how many times they claim nothing changes. Is all about the amount of money they can get out of tenants that are already struggling to keep a roof over there heads. Shame on thanet district council

    • The article states that those on benefits can claim the extra charge and also says 77% of residents are on benefits, so eventually its the taxpayer that picks up the vast amount of the cost.

  2. That’s fair enough it’s an extra service and those it serves have to pay for it. In reality I expect many will have it paid for them in their benefits. There is obviously a need for these patrols from incidents and concerns in the past.

  3. Money for old rope-surely they should be paying people to live in those crime infested, trouble family hellholes-that are probably deathtraps clad in the same/similar junk as Grenfell. Screwing the poorest in society as per usual.

  4. I don’t see why one should pay extra to live being safe . Its saying you live there so you will pay more rent but your friend who you work with is fine she lives somewhere else.
    Yes agree the costs have to be recovered but charge EVERYONE a bit extra everywhere.

    • The people who live in the blocks should definitely be the ones paying for a service that they will receive. Why should the rest of the general public pay for a service that they would not benefit from ?

  5. Let me get this straight. Tenets already pay a service charge for cleaning, but blocks don’t get cleaned, they pay council tax for services that are not provided, council tax to a council who don’t answer the phone or provide any basic help, they pay rent, but live in unsafe housing, several Tory’s made a lot of money via East Kent housing who lined their own pockets, but couldn’t even keep the lifts workng.
    And the council’s solution is to charge again for the services they already don’t receive, and for staff who won’t do what they are supposed to do.
    Absolutely shocking.

    • Installing CCTV to see who is regularly setting fires-especially at Invicta & then the police arresting & prosecuting the culprits would surely be a good investment.

      • Well I can tell you the tower block do have CCTV That cost thousands to install. But they never work. The tower blocks are run down bedbug hell holes and you just can’t get out of them. Thanet council now this and they don’t care about anyone living in them.

        • Figures, from the constant appeals for witnesses in areas that supposedly are saturated with CCTV, you wonder whether they are all broken or just dummy cameras used to scare people.

    • What happened to the caretakers that lived ( free of charge) in the ground floor flat that were paid and did the tasks that are required to maintain the Blocks. Supported by TDC engineer, and maintenance crews.

      • Funny how things that worked for an eternity are suddenly abandoned in the name of ‘progress’ or read that as a way to save money short-term & blight peoples lives.

  6. Why don’t thanet district council do away with all these walk around watch. Plus the so called cleaners of which do a unacceptable job just stand outside talking most of the time or sitting in their vans. Save money and employ a live in Warden give him a flat that give him a job to maintain the building cleaner landing pick up litter outside will save thousands in the long run instead of employing loads of different firms. Money will be saved and place will be cleaned regular rubbish picked up report damaged items and also can watch for anti-social behaviour

  7. All tower block need live in Wardens. Wardens would keep a eye out for anti-social behaviour report repairs wash landing floors and clean up around the block. Save thousands.

    • Another relic of years gone by, you’d have trouble finding anyone willing to do the job properly, the council would be responsible for training, pensions, health and safety, sick pay, annual leave etc etc, plus lose the rent on the flat but still be liable for their share of costs.

  8. If all tenants took responsibility for their actions like keeping their landings and areas clean and reporting anything untoward to the council or police they would not need wardens or patrolling. The trouble is some tenants could not careless .

    • Ah but that would be harking back to days of old , when people took pride in the gousing they were provided and eere grateful for it, nowadays there’s an overbearing sense of entitlement and a “i’ll do what i want” attitude. The numbers of antisocial / troublesome is sufficient that those that have better standards fear for the reprisals if they do say something.

  9. So I have to pay for a waking watch because they want put Sounders back in the flats that they removed last year when they upgraded the smoke detectors in the flats, you could not make this up

Comments are closed.