Service charge

Apsana Begum urges government to act as service charges rise

17:02 19 April 2022

An MP has called on the government to act after residents of Tower Hamlets angered over the soaring cost of living.

Residents living in buildings run by Tower Hamlets Community Housing (THCH) staged a protest outside the group’s offices against the increased service charge.

The charges have risen to 116%, according to documents seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).

A spokesman for housing association THCH disputed claims that service charges had risen by up to 120 per cent and said a rent increase of 4.1 per cent had been made in accordance with the housing regulator social.

Apsana Begum, MP for Poplar and Limehouse, told the LDRS the scale of the increase in charges was “incredibly worrying”.

She said: ‘I have been in contact with constituents and had a lot of discussions with them.

“I think there needs to be a change at the national level in terms of how people can access a property court, how they can access it in a simplified way, which is less burdensome for the individuals themselves. .

“At the moment these are guidelines – they are not properly applied. It is the regulatory bodies that need to be empowered.

A Department of Leveling, Housing and Communities spokesperson said: ‘No one should have to live in an unsanitary home. Our priority is to create a fairer social rental sector for all.

“We will introduce new legislation to improve the quality and regulation of social housing, give residents additional information to help hold their landlord accountable and ensure that when residents lodge a complaint, landlords take prompt and effective action to fix things.”

Campaign group Justice for THCH Residents organized the protest and argued that the cost and quality of their accommodation was unacceptable.

A spokesman for the group said: ‘People are struggling to eat and heat their homes and our slum landlord has massively increased charges for no reason or justification.’

THCH said it does not benefit from the service fee and that it has been increased to match the cost of the services provided.