MP urges government action as residents face 'concerning' service charge rise
Alastair Lockhart, LDRS
- Credit: Mike Brooke
An MP called on government action after anger from Tower Hamlets residents about soaring living costs.
Residents living in buildings run by Tower Hamlets Community Housing (THCH) held a protest outside the group’s offices against increased service charges.
The charges have risen by up to 116 per cent, according to documents seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).
A spokesperson for housing association THCH disputed claims that service charges had risen by up to 120 per cent, and said that a rent increase of 4.1pc had been made in line with the Regulator of Social Housing.
Poplar and Limehouse MP Apsana Begum told the LDRS that the scale of the increase in charges is "incredibly concerning".
She said: “I’ve been in contact with constituents and I have been in a lot of discussion with them.
“I think there does need to be a change on a national level in terms of how people are able to access a property tribunal, how they’re able to access it in a way that is simplified, that is less burdensome on individuals themselves.
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“At the moment it’s guidance – it’s not properly enforced. It’s the regulatory bodies that need to be empowered.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said: “No one should have to live in a substandard home. Our priority is to create a fairer social rented sector for everyone.
“We will introduce new legislation to improve the quality and regulation of social housing, give residents extra information to help hold their landlord to account and ensure that when residents make a complaint, landlords take quick and effective action to put things right.”
Campaign group Justice for THCH Residents organised the protest and argued the cost and quality of their housing was unacceptable.
A group spokesperson said: “People are struggling to eat and heat their homes and our slum landlord have increased charges massively for absolutely no reason or justification.”
THCH said it did not profit from service charges and that they had been increased to match the cost of services provided.