This campaign relates to uncapped and unregulated estate management fees that residents on new build estates are forced to pay year after year, for the maintenance of the local area, which ordinarily your local council would do as part of your Council Tax.
This ‘New Build Tax’ is a problem in numerous parts of Northampton – it is a huge problem nationally with an estimated 1.3 million households currently affected. Some people have reported a shocking 50% increase in their estate management fees in a single year. There is often a complete lack of transparency about the way the fees are made up. In one case the actual maintenance costs were less than a fifth of the fees charged, with figures for ‘company admin fees’ and ‘accountancy charges’ making up the extra. This is daylight robbery!
There is currently no legislation in place to protect freeholders, with the government suggesting that residents should take up issues directly with developers. In reality, freeholders have no legal recourse in the event of a dispute and often have no influence over their agent at all. The deal is incredibly one-sided. Management companies have the power to send in bayliffs, and homeowners don’t even have the right to ask for a justification of costs – this is an absolute outrage!
This issue was first brought to my attention by the Labour Party’s Duston Branch. I want to pay tribute to the excellent work they have done on this issue so far…they are real champions for the people in the Duston area.
I am supporting a Bill in Parliament introduced by Helen Goodman, Labour’s MP for Bishop Auckland, more details are here: www.helengoodman.org.uk/latest-news/2018/11/02/estatefees. This bill if passed will cap and regulate estate maintenance fees, introduce measures to ensure shared facilities are maintained to an adequate standard, and will make provision for the transfer to self-management to end the stranglehold of managing agents. In short, it will end these incredibly dodgy practices and unfair charges!
The message we send to Andrew Lewer, the Conservative MP for Northampton South is that he must step up and support affected residents and support the bill in Parliament to ensure an end to the New Build Tax.
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