Could new homeowners face uncontrolled charges?

Conservative Councillors in Coventry are calling upon the Council to review maintenance contracts levied upon new build homeowners across the city. Councillor Peter Male (Woodlands Ward) and Councillor Marcus Lapsa (Westwood Ward) have submitted a motion to the forthcoming Full Council meeting. It calls for an extensive review of the current arrangements following complaints from residents in new-build Bannerbrook Park about uncontrolled charges and poor service delivery.

In the wake of the recent devastating greenbelt planning application at Eastern Green, where Circa 3300 homes could be built, Councillors Male and Lapsa are concerned that a continued use of maintenance contracts could bring untold misery to future Coventry residents.

Maintenance contracts are charges levied upon new build freehold homeowners for the maintenance of open spaces that are not adopted by Local Authorities. There’s been a significant increase in the use of maintenance contracts on private estates over the past decade and has now become an industry standard.

These maintenance contracts are largely unregulated and uncapped with several issues emerging. These include; a lack of information at the point of purchase, unregulated fees, a lack of communication from management companies, poor levels of service delivery and a lack of consumer rights as management companies are accountable to landowners not the homeowner. There’s also no way to change the service provider and no right to directly manage the maintenance contracts. With the lack of a dispute resolution mechanism, with costly court action the only recourse, there are worries that additional fees and delays at the point of sale may influence the ability to sell a property.

Commenting on maintenance contracts, Cllr Peter Male said, “I am calling upon Coventry City Council to conduct an extensive review into the use of maintenance contracts within the city, in light of the misery inflicted upon Bannerbrook Park residents. New homeowners, instead of feeling elated by their new home, are feeling cheated by these uncontrolled maintenance contracts. The Urban Extension at Eastern Green must avoid the mistakes made at Bannerbrook Park and elsewhere.”

Fellow Conservative Councillor, Cllr Marcus Lapsa said, “I am calling upon the Council to lead by example to demonstrate that alternatives to the current maintenance contracts can be found and that Coventry can lead the way on what is a national problem. Maintenance contracts are not fit for purpose for homeowners and the City alike.”