Tenants in West Norfolk are set to be asked to pay service charges under new plans drawn up by a social housing operator.
The plan by Freebridge Community Housing, which is set to come into force next spring, applies to sites with shared communal areas, such as Lynn’s Hillington Square.
Officials say tenants in affected locations have been notified of the planned charges, which are already in operation at some locations, by letter .
A meeting was also held at Freebridge’s headquarters yesterday for residents to find out more about the proposals and a similar session has been scheduled for next week.
Robert Clarke, Freebridge’s director of housing, said yesterday: “We recently contacted some of our residents who live in homes with shared communal areas, as we plan to introduce service charges to them from April 2016.
“The charge is only being introduced for residents who don’t currently pay towards these services.
“The level of charge will vary depending on the service we are providing, and the money raised will be used to cover the cost.”
A letter sent to one tenant who contacted the Lynn News said the charges were being introduced to help Freebridge to maintain and enhance the environment around its properties.
It indicated the money will go towards the costs of keeping the areas maintained by its estate improvement officers clean. Tenants who are receiving housing benefit will have the charges covered by their payments.
Freebridge says it has already imposed similar charges on properties in new developments, such as Keeble Court on the site of the former Pilot Cinema and Zoots nightclub, which opened in October.
Residents of Millfleet Court, the first phase of the multi-million pound re-generation of Hillington Square which was completed last year, are also being asked to pay service charges.
A meeting for tenants in the areas covered by the plans was due to take place at Freebridge’s Juniper House headquarters yesterday evening. A further meeting has been arranged for next Monday, December 21, at 5.30pm.
And Mr Clarke said: “We are very keen to support our tenants in any way that we can with the changes.
“Anyone who cannot come to the meeting can instead call our First Contact Centre on 03332 404444 who will be able to help with any questions people have.”