Monday, April 16 2012, 1:20PM
“My name is Faye Galvin and I'm the Communications Manager for Merlin Housing Society. I'd like to respond to your comments oldie60.We set our rents in accordance with a Government formula, which uses the Retail Price Index measure of inflation, and then allows us to add an extra amount to more people to target rent (target rent is the amount that the Government say people in similar sized homes in the same are should pay.) There is no option for local councillors to 'intervene' with this process, however residents who don't agree with the increases have recourse to refer the matter to a local rent assessment committee who will decide if it's fair. All our residents are informed of this right when we send them their rent incresase letters.As well as rents, there are certain communal services we provide like grass cutting on the bits of land that we own, heating and lighting which we charge about 4,000 residents for. Because of one of the transfer promises the Council made to residents when we took over in 2007, we haven't been able to increase them by more than the rate of inflation for five years. As a result, all of our residents are subsidising the cost of services to the tune of £1.8m each year - that's enough to build a whole street of brand new houses for families desperate for an affordable home.It isn't fair that this situation continues. After a period of extensive consultation with residents who receive these services, we're moving to a system where people will pay the true cost of the service they receive. We know that times are tough for people, which is why our Board - which includes South Glos Councillors - took a decision to cap the service charge increase to £3 a week each year until we get to full recovery. This means that although the maximum rent and existing service charge increase our residents could pay would be 9.9%, the vast majority of increases are actually between 6% and 7.25%With regards to grass cutting - we're about building great communities. We want to encourage a sense of pride in our neighbourhoods and that means we need to get residents involved in looking after their surroundings. As an organisation, we've just developing a mechanism that allows residents to manage the grounds maintenance themselves and means they don't have to pay the service charge.This is quite a tricky process as it needs everyone to agree to it, and the work which we will inspect regularly must meet certain standardsIf residents are interested in this, they need to contact their housing office.Finally, we have not 'handed' councilors £20,000 each for community causes. The local Council received money from us when we bought the properties from them back in 2007, and have since handed that out internally. The only money the Council receives from us a proportion of any money we get from peopelp who chose to exercise their Right to Buy their home. To say otherwise is incorrect”
Monday, April 16 2012, 6:34PM
“@oldieAs a council taxpayer, I don't really want to pay for you to have your grass cut.”
by The Royal British Legion
Tuesday, April 17 2012, 12:37PM
“by John_NameMonday, April 16 2012, 6:34PM"@oldieAs a council taxpayer, I don't really want to pay for you to have your grass cut." Your not paying for me to have my grass cut, i havent got any.”
Wednesday, April 18 2012, 11:01AM
“Why are they charging you for it then? Do you get some benefit from it?”
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