Hornchurch pensioners and families’ shock over �10k bill for roof repairs

Families on a Hornchurch estate are outraged that their housing association wants more than �10,000 for roof repairs.

Pensioners say they will be hit particularly hard, with the bill threatening to swallow their savings and halve their incomes.

Residents in Victor Approach believe the fee from Hastoe Housing for replacing their roof is exorbitant – and they are furious.

Sandra Taylor, who has lived in the block for 41 years, said: “I don’t have anything apart from my pension. I’m just so shocked – I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

Jack Bower-Wilson, who has a young family, said the cost was forcing him to sell his home and move out – just a month before his wife goes on maternity leave.

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“It couldn’t have come at a worse time,” the 25-year-old told the Recorder.

“I’d rather spend �10,000 I haven’t got on moving than on something that, realistically, is overpriced.

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“For that type of money, I’d want the roof done in gold. It’s outrageous.”

Hastoe Housing said they had notified all residents in writing about the work in September 2010 and had sent out a shortlist of contractors in January 2011.

Regional manager Daniel Thompson said: “Everyone was given the chance to nominate someone for this contract.

“We will be holding a public meeting for all residents to explain the purpose of the works and how we have priced them.

“This will give residents a chance to discuss everything before the work starts.”

The documents sent to residents, seen by the Recorder, refer to a contract for all planned and reactive maintenance work on the site, eventually offered to Cambridgeshire company Trevor Benton.

They do not mention any planned roofing work, but rather give a theoretical daily rate for its provision should it ever be required.

Mr Bower-Wilson, who has already put his home up for sale, said he had never been given the chance to find an alternative quote for the roofing work – and hadn’t even been told who was carrying out the work.

“I’m furious at the way it’s been done,” he said.

“I knew the roof would have to be repaired but I didn’t think it would be done like this.”

A 53-year-old resident also said he had not seen a tender or been given any other options for the work.

The Hastoe spokesman confirmed that a repayment plan of up to three years was available to residents “where appropriate” – about �66 a week.

But a 63-year-old pensioner in the same block said even that figure was half her weekly pension.

“My husband and I don’t dispute having to pay our share,” she said, “but it’s the exorbitant cost of the roof.

“They’re going to do a financial assessment of everybody, which is very intrusive. How people are supposed to afford it, I don’t know.”

Hastoe said the quote – which totalled �10,443 per property – was not a bill but an estimate, and that it would be speaking to residents over the next month about the overall price and what they would each have to pay.

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