The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has questioned whether Valleys to Coast Housing Association should be charging tenants for maintaining recreation areas used by everyone in the community.
Mr. Black was responding to a letter sent to all of V2C’s tenants telling them that services such as litter picking and grass cutting will now be paid for by an additional service charge which will be payable with their rent. The housing association justify this extra charge by reference to a directive by the Labour Minister for Housing in 2014.
Mr. Black said “it does not sound right to me that social housing tenants should have to pay a service charge on public recreation areas when those who bought their houses through the right-to-buy scheme do not have to contribute. These recreation areas belong to the wider community.
“I have written to the Minister to seek some clarity on her 2014 directive and in particular to ask her whether the proposed V2C service charge is covered by it. It has always been my understanding that core costs such as staffing, administration and the maintenance of common areas within housing estates should be covered by rental income within a housing associations books.
“Instead, we are getting proxy rent increases, using the vehicle of service charges to generate extra income so as to by-pass the social rent controls imposed by the Welsh Government.”