Landlord loses grass cuttings fee case
A housing association has lost a court case which it brought against a group of home owners who refused to a pay service charge.
Two Rivers housing had taken a number of people who previously exercised their right to buy to court after they refused to start paying a service charge for the maintenance of grass areas in locations throughout the Forest of Dean.
The housing association lost in June this year, but appealed the decision.
Last week, the High Court in Bristol upheld the decision meaning owner-occupiers were now free to opt-out of paying the charge.
A Two Rivers spokesperson said: ‘The decision to take court action was not taken lightly but it was felt to be very important that the charity supported tenants and established a ruling as to whether tenants should have sole responsibility for the upkeep of the grassed areas.
‘As a not-for-profit organisation we are committed to supporting our tenants, as well as those who have chosen to buy their homes, in a well kept community environment that benefits everyone, paid for through a service charge.
‘Without this service charge being paid by all householders, an average 60p per week, it is unlikely that we will be able to sustain the high level of maintenance our estates currently enjoy.’
Freeholders staged a protest march in June three years ago through Cinderford in the Forest of Dean against the payment, which is an average of around £31.50 a year.
The 3,600-home housing association took on 3,577 homes from the Forest of Dean District Council in a stock transfer in 2003.
‘We will be looking at all options, and talking to householders, in an effort to resolve the situation.
‘While it has been a difficult time for all concerned, we hope that we can find a way to work together for the benefit of all.’