Handyman dispute for housing group

A HOUSING association providing accommodation for elderly people has been criticised for offering handyman services charging up to £27 to replace light bulbs.

Dales Housing, which has thousands of tenants around the Dales region who rent out properties, provides a handyman service which they say can “help carry out those little jobs”.

Yet the company has been berated for the price list, which includes £14.66 to hang a picture, £21.65 to tune a TV, £27 to replace up to four light bulbs, and plumb in a washing machine for £174.

They also insist all jobs be paid in advance.

Denefields in Matlock is one of many sheltered housing complexes run by Dales Housing, and chairman of the sheltered housing panel, Pat James, described the charges as “horrendous”.

She said: “I thought they were trying to help elderly people.

“I was under the impression that it was free for elderly tenants.

“There are workmen already employed so it’s like paying twice.

“I’m appalled but not surprised. I would certainly not pay for £27 to have light bulbs changed- I’d rather sit in the dark!

“I don’t think they are considerate landlords, the management don’t care about us, we are just numbers on a rent statement.”

In response, Dale Housing defended the prices, claiming it was to help prevent residents falling prey to less reputable traders.

Jacque Allen, executive director, said: “We can reassure tenants that any jobs undertaken will be carried out by Dales Housing’s trusted, reliable and skilled trades’ people, who are all CRB checked and familiar faces to our customers. They will turn up on time; all work is guaranteed and will be carried out to the highest standard.

“It is an optional service and does not replace our standard repairs service. The cost of each repair has been worked out to take into account overheads, materials, travel, an hourly rate, administration costs and VAT. This is not a money making venture, but a service we hope our customers will benefit from.”