Romford neighbours' outrage over ‘bonkers’ £20,000 council bill 

Mawney Close residents

Mawney Close residents said they have been treated unfairly by the council - Credit: Melissa Lunn

A group of Romford leaseholders feel "railroaded" after being unexpectedly handed a bill of up to £20,200 each for building maintenance on their homes.

The Mawney Close residents were presented with the bill for replacing roofs and parts of the buildings’ structures, which Havering Council said are “coming to the end of their lifespan”.

Overall, the works have been quoted at an estimated £1,032,000, with 22 leaseholders paying between £18,600 and £20,200.

Of the 52 properties, the council will be paying for its 30, while the remaining leaseholders must pay for the maintenance on their own homes.

Melissa Lunn said she has been fighting to get answers about why the costs are so high. 

She told this paper: “I’m just in disbelief. This isn’t a rich street, and we have no inclination of how we are going to pay for it. 

“Where do people find that money from?  

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“What’s more, the numbers are bonkers. 

“That’s far more than those works should be.” 

Residents John and Melanie Roberts have lived in the close for 24 years, and said they had never experienced a situation like this. 

Residents John and Melanie Roberts

Romford residents John and Melanie Roberts said scaffolding was put up on their house despite their questions not being answered - Credit: John and Melanie Roberts

Melanie, 63, explained: “We feel like we’ve been railroaded.

“It’s incredibly stressful, and has actually made me ill."

Her husband, 69-year-old John said: “Having this huge cost dumped on us with no payment plan - it's been such hard work."

A spokesperson for Havering Council said the works at Mawney Close will ensure the “longevity of the properties”. 

Works are not limited to roof replacement and associated elements, but also removing replacing asbestos soffits with low-maintenance UPVC products as a “cost-effective long-term solution”. 

The neighbours are planning on seeking advice from a solicitor, and have reached out to other builders to get price comparisons. 

The council spokesperson said a formal section 20 consultation set out an estimated cost for the project, and information about payment options for leaseholders would “be sent out shortly”.   

Melissa, who works as a teacher, also criticised the council’s “poor” communication throughout the process. 

John added: “We need them to come down here and talk to us, like they used to, rather than write us letters from their ivory tower." 

The council spokesperson added: “We understand that it would be incredibly difficult for some people to pay out large sums of money in one go, and we will work closely with all leaseholders to find the best solution for them.”