Housing group apologises for £3,500 overcharge

The grass verge
The woman said the grounds maintenance fees were for a small area with a tiny grass verge [Supplied]

A housing association has apologised after a woman in Hertfordshire was overcharged by about £3,500 over three years for a weekly maintenance charge.

The woman, who did not want to be named, said her fee to Clarion Housing Group in 2013 was about £5 a week, but by 2021 it had increased to £25 and it rose to £42 in 2022.

She said, despite complaining, it was only after contacting the JVS Show on BBC Three Counties Radio that she was paid back £3,481.01 and received an £800 goodwill top-up.

Clarion said it had been "working hard" to recalculate the service charge, and the fee had been "significantly reduced".

A bush by the woman's house
The area that is maintained has only a few bushes [Supplied]

The woman said the fee covered communal lighting costs, pest control and grounds maintenance. She lived in a "tiny six-house cul-de-sac with a tiny verge of grass and a few bushes".

The grounds were mostly concrete with practically "nothing to maintain", and she had seen a ground team visit only about once a year, she said.

She raised a dispute with the company in 2021.

A spokesman for the housing group apologised.

"We have been working hard to provide a recalculated service charge and have been in contact to give her more detail on this," he said.

"[The woman] and her five other affected neighbours’ grounds maintenance charges have now been significantly reduced, and this will be backdated to the last time it was correct.

"We will be getting in touch with each of these residents in due course."

The weekly fee was now £4.99, with £1.98 of it going to grounds maintenance, the woman said.

She added that having the refund in her account was "amazing".

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