Lack of caretaker has done us a disservice

Residents of Grassdale View who are in dispute with Guiness Northern Counties about fees paid for a caretaker who has been made redundant
Residents of Grassdale View who are in dispute with Guiness Northern Counties about fees paid for a caretaker who has been made redundant
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Barbara Taylor and her neighbours just want answers.

It’s that simple. Nothing more, nothing less, just answers.

Barbara lives in Grassdale View, Hackenthorpe, in flats which are managed by housing association Guiness Northern Counties.

She was paying a weekly service charge which covered a gardener and caretaker.

Then, last August, the caretaker was made redundant, but Barbara and the other residents continued to pay the same amount.

All Barbara was told was that there was an in-house team looking after the properties.

They expected the same standard of service - they were paying the same amount afterall, but this didn’t happen.

This continued right up until March, when the financial year ended, and their new yearly bill was reduced.

Barbara questioned Guiness Northern Counties about where the extra money they had been paying had gone.

“They just kept saying it had been reinvested. Reinvested where? We have been paying for something we’ve not had,” she said.

“Fair enough if it has been reinvested where we live, but I can’t see any difference. Infact it has got worse.”

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We asked Guinness Northern Counties to explain what had happened at Grassdale View.

A spokesman said that the company had changed from an estate assistant - a caretaker - to an in-house mobile estates team and that the extra money paid had been used to reduce this year’s bills even further.

He said: “The previous assistant is now a resident and therefore responsible for her accommodation costs. Services provided to Grassdale View during the transfer from estates assistants to mobile estates services remained continuous.

“The amount saved by this change in service delivery throughout 2013 remained in the account as a surplus until the following - now current - financial year. This surplus amount has now been passed on to customers, reducing the annual service charges.

“Each year we write to our customers to explain their rent and service charge accounts and are happy to meet with our customers to talk them through the accounts.”