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Furious residents say they are being ‘ripped off’ over caretaking charges

09:01 05 December 2011

Peter Cain

Peter Cain

»Residents in Barnsbury have launched a campaign against the housing company that charges them £25 an hour for caretakers who are then paid less than half that amount.

People who live in Thornhill Houses, off Thornhill Road, were charged £25.46 for every hour caretaking work was done on their estate last year.

But Homes for Islington, (HfI) which manages the estate, paid its caretaking staff a maximum of £12.30 per hour, meaning it got £12.70 extra for every hour of work – it is claimed.

Upset

With 45,000 hours of caretaking commissioned each year from HfI’s Lyon Street housing office, the company are accused of taking more than £500,000 every 12 months more than it is paying the staff – but it insists the money is spent on other related costs.

Peter Cain, chairman of the Thornhill Houses tenants’ association, said: “It’s outright thievery. I got a professional quote and they told me £9 per hour.

“HfI rip us off over everything. To begin with everyone was really upset, but now it’s a battle.”

A spokesman for HfI said: “The charge to leaseholders for the caretaking service is based on the actual cost of delivering the service.

“The charge is made up of the caretakers’ salary including costs, equipment, materials and management costs relating to the caretaking service.

“Tenant management organisations (TMO) calculate their leaseholder service charges on the same basis as HfI.

“There are 25 independent TMOs within the borough with varying costs for this service.”

n Mr Cain asks anyone interested in joining the campaign to leave their details at www.thtara.org/home/contact-us.

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