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Price of essential building repairs set to double

HOMEOWNERS face paying twice as much for compulsory building repairs under a new scheme set up by a scandal-hit council.

Edinburgh City Council's new Shared Repair Service will help property owners arrange to carry out safety related repairs to homes and businesses and only directly arrange such works in the same way as its now disbanded Property Conservation Department (PCD) if talks between neighbours break down.

But instead of a 15% administration charge on top of the repair when the council intervenes, homeowners and firms face paying 35% on top of their bill.

The charge warning comes after years of turmoil at the council over such repairs.

The PCD was responsible for up to £30 million worth of repairs a year before being scrapped after a police corruption investigation, leaving a huge backlog.

Alasdair Rankin, finance convener, said: "We are aware of the issues faced by the former Property Conservation Department and continue to make progress towards closing these off.

"The replacement service has been successful but remains limited in scope.

"We are aiming to balance the council's commitment to protect the fabric of the city with the need to encourage owners to take responsibility for repairs to their own homes."

In a report to be discussed next week, Mark Turley, director of services for communities, said: "During previous consideration of this issue, members have indicated a desire that this service should be self-financing if at all possible.

"Work so far suggests that the fee would need to be of the order of 35% in order for that to be achieved.

"Howeverthese figures are purely illustrative at this stage and members will be asked to take a decision on this matter at a later stage."

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home improvement

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