A SENIOR citizen aged 94 has been left stunned after he was hit with bills of over £13,000 from his building factor.

John Hoey, who owns his flat in Belville Street, says he was 'flabbergasted' when he received a bill from River Clyde Homes out of the blue demanding £11,500.

The housing association say he has to pay the huge sum as his share towards a roof repair bill.

The pensioner then received a separate bill from them asking him to pay £1,800 for a structural survey in another part of the building.

John said: "It's ridiculous, the prices they are charging - they are exorbitant.

"They're supposed to go and get three estimates but it looks like they have got just one."

John received a letter without warning from RCH stating that repairs to the roof of the building would cost £46,568 and that he would be expected to pay a quarter share of the work.

Just days ago, he received a further letter stating that a 'large structural crack' has appeared on the block and that a structural survey must be conducted out at a total cost of £6,100 plus VAT.

He is particularly upset with the bills as he says he has worked hard to maintain the building himself.

John added: "I have to pay so much a month in factoring but in the last 20 years I have done a lot of repairs myself."

John's daughter Rita Walker says her father is one of three owners in the block of four flats.

She is furious that her elderly dad received the two huge bills without any warning.

She said: "My dad has lived there for around 53 years and not once in that time have either Inverclyde Council nor River Clyde Homes inspected that roof.

"This has all come about because the one flat River Clyde Homes own in the property had water coming in, otherwise I don't suppose they would have bothered about the roof or any other repairs.

"When my parents bought their flat in 2007 the agreement says that as owners my parents would be liable to pay their share of any communal repairs at 'any reasonable specification'.

"These costs from River Clyde Homes are not in any way reasonable."

Rita, who has instructed a solicitor to fight the demands, told the Tele the tone of the letter about the structural survey is out of order.

She said: "It's a demand - nothing less - for a structural survey in another part of the building which has to be carried out within 14 days which will cost £1,800.

"How can River Clyde Homes treat a 94-year-old like this without any warning.

"To me the letter is quite intimidating as it says 'we would ask all owners to contact us within 14 days to arrange payment or discuss payment options as a lack of communication may lead to additional costs and delays'."

Like her father, Rita does not believe the cost of the work represents value for money.

She added: "Who has got nearly £14,000 in their back pocket, let alone a 94-year-old man?

"And why does each letter only have one estimate?

"There should be several."

Bosses at River Clyde Homes have defended their handling of the situation and insist they are following 'best practice'.

Richard Orr, a senior project manager, said: “River Clyde Homes has advised residents in the block that the roof is now unmaintainable due to its age, its condition and that the water ingress cannot be abated into either upper flat.

"As the factor for the block we have no option but to consider a full replacement in these circumstances.

"Owners have been provided with copies of the independent surveys carried out which confirm this and provide owners with indicative costs.

"These works will be procured in line with best practice to ensure best value meaning the actual cost may vary from that indicated in the surveyors' report."

He added: “The building has also developed a significant structural crack which requires to be inspected by a qualified structural engineer.

"The costs for this have been billed to owners and the surveys have been procured in line with regulations designed to ensure best practice for social landlords.

"Copies of the report will be available to owners once complete when we consult on what happens next."