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Residents in Gainsborough Court, Cottesmore continue to fight Longhurst’s price increases

Residents are fighting a price hike by their landlord that amounts to hundreds of pounds a month.

John Edhouse moved into a Longhurst-owned property last year and paid £638 a month for his one-bedroom flat.

But following a review of rent and service charges he was told he will now have to pay £905 a month.

Residents of Gainsborough Court are facing an increase in rent and service charges
Residents of Gainsborough Court are facing an increase in rent and service charges

John, who had moved from a private rental property in Milton Keynes to Longhurst’s Gainsborough Court, Cottesmore, said: “It is no longer affordable housing. It would have been cheaper for me to remain in private accommodation.”

Gainsborough Court’s 23 flats share a communal lounge, kitchen and laundry facilities.

John, along with other residents, has been negotiating with Longhurst to reduce the cost increase they all face.

Gainsborough Court in Cottesmore. Photo: Google
Gainsborough Court in Cottesmore. Photo: Google

By paying weekly instead of monthly, Longhurst has knocked about £100 off their bills.

An energy meter incorrectly billed to Gainsborough Court is now being deducted, as is some of the lift servicing charge, which turned out to be based on an inaccurate number of visits.

As a result, John is being asked to pay £191.66 a week, or about £830 a month.

The retired HGV driver said discrepancies caused by Longhurst not keeping an eye on things had made residents’ bills ‘creep up’ and that it had been “hard to get a reasonable explanation” from the landlord.

This left John and his neighbours feeling unsatisfied.

“It feels like we are being charged to put right their mess,” he added.

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A spokesperson for Longhurst said the company subsidised service charges for its residents in previous years to keep costs down for them, adding: “However, due to rising costs across our operations, we were not able to do so this year and had to take the decision to recover the actual amount that we were being charged by providers.”

Longhurst held a ‘private’ meeting with Gainsborough Court residents on Wednesday last week.

Concerns about the rent and service charges were raised, alongside issues relating to cleaning, lighting, communal heating and hot water, and maintenance of shared areas including gardens and lifts.

John said the heating remains on in summer, and communal areas remain lit when no one is around.

Longhurst’s spokesperson said they addressed residents’ concerns, including an explanation of Gainsborough Court’s energy use and costs, the condition and maintainance of the housing, and acknowledged a need to make the building more energy efficient.

“We’re committed to improving this for our customers,” they said.

But John said detailed answers were lacking and he was left feeling unhappy.

John made his first weekly payment at the increased charge today (Wednesday, April 3). He has said he will continue to challenge the company over the level of increase.

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