ANGRY tenants who complained about an 'unreasonable' amount of service charges have won their case at a tribunal.
Alan Griffiths, 55, of The Butts, and 75-year-old David Henry, of Keepers Walk, in Castlefields, secured a dual victory when it emerged they should be paying a reduced weekly rate for their cleaning and lighting charges.
However, the decision could still be reversed after CDS Housing vowed to fight the decision at an appeal tribunal.
Mr Griffiths complained that he lives in a ground floor flat and should not be billed for the cleaning of decked areas or communal lighting which only benefit upper floor tenants.
When Mr Henry lodged a similar complaint, the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal in Manchester found he should continue paying for his lighting - but not for cleaning charges.
The tenants are now eligible to pay a reduced rate for services back-dated to the year 2002-2003.
If the appeal is not successful, Mr Griffiths would pay around £1.50 a week less, while Mr Henry would pay around 50p a week less.
Said Mr Henry: 'I'm pleased with the results from the tribunal, but I want CDS to recognise there are still a lot of pitfalls in the system and there are still great divides between tenants.
'We just want to see uniformity throughout CDS Housing so that everyone is paying their fair share, because some people are paying a lot more than others.
'I know of a lot of homeowners and people on benefits who don't pay these service charges at all, and people in Liverpool Housing Trust seem to be paying a lot less for a better service.
'I don't want to be paying service charges, and the way it's going, it'll break into a war between neighbours.
'This is opening up a whole can of worms and divisions between the tenants of all 10 housing associations.'
Mr Griffiths added: 'These payments have only been back-dated a few years. The situation has been going on about 10 years. We're owed a great deal more money.'
Around 20 homeowners who bought their properties through the Right To Buy purchase scheme do not pay service charges. The tribunal heard how people had become exempt due to badly drawn documents.
If the appeal court upholds the decision, it could lead to a full-scale review and have widespread repercussions on the amount of service charges paid out by remaining tenants. This week, people in Castlefields have been asked to state how much they'd be willing to pay in a doorstop survey.
In a statement, a spokeswoman for CDS Housing, said: 'The tribunal has found in favour of Mr Griffiths' and Mr Henry's complaint, however the Housing Ombudsman has found in favour of CDS Housing.
'CDS Housing has 21 days to lodge an appeal with the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal with regard to both decisions and plans to do so. The appeal could take several months to be completed.
'To date, no other tenants or owner occupiers on the estate have raised any objection to the service charge.'