THE family of a woman aged 93 have criticised a housing association for more than doubling charges to install and maintain a TV aerial.

Stella Hamilton, of Market Hill, Maldon, is being told she needs to pay £108 a year for a new television aerial.

Stella, who leases her flat from a housing company, was originally told her share for the aerial would cost £43 a year.

However, Moat Housing has now told Stella her quarter of the rent will now cost £108 per year, meaning the four residents are paying £432 per year for one television aerial.

Daughter Sue described the charges as ridiculous.

She said: “When the first service charge came in we found that they were charging us £43.

“Mum said that was fine, the television was essential to her and it was less than a pound a week so she agreed to pay it.

“This month that has gone up to £108. I can’t believe the rental company would increase their charges by as much as that. I have put in a complaint to Moat Housing.

“Television is essential for her. She is 93 and can’t go out. The first thing she does in the morning is switch on the television.

“All this money for one aerial is utterly ridiculous.”

It is not the first time Stella has had problems with Moat Housing.

Five years ago she took the company to a tribunal over an issue with her windows which has yet to be resolved.

Sue added: “My mum has no connection with the communal area. She uses a separate front door round the back and couldn’t get access even if she wanted to.

“I have explained this to them countless times, but they keep billing her for electricity and new fire doors.

“Eventually they agreed not to charge her over the communal stuff, but then the next week she got a letter saying if she did not pay for it in the next month they would take her to court.”

A spokesman for Moat Housing said: “Our service charge costs are directly determined by the cost of installation and maintenance. In this instance, the increase is due to a crucial one-off repair to the aerial, carried out last year.

“The charges for communal areas are defined within each individual unit’s lease and although not all customers make use of all areas, there is a shared responsibility to pay for maintenance of buildings and communal areas.

“In this instance the costs relate to both service charges and fire safety remedial works, which all customers benefit from.”