Business owners have accused the council of using ‘bullying tactics’ after being hit with an £8,500 bill for maintenance work.
Unit roofs at Sadler Street Industrial Estate in Oswaldtwistle were deemed to be in a ‘state of disrepair’ after a Hyndburn council inspection.
Accrington Autobodies, Tinkerbrook Garage and Safety Warehouse were written to by the council stating that ‘preventative maintenance’ work needs to be carried out under the terms of their lease.
In letters to the tenants, the council said if the work was not carried out by the businesses themselves then the council would organise the repairs and bill them for the costs.
Trevor Best, who runs Accrington Autobodies with Ian Park, said it was ‘not fair’ for them to pay for the repairs.
He said: “The units have been up for 35 years and we have only been here six or seven. We are having to pay for everybody else who has been in it.
“It’s not even a percentage thing.
“If you pay the rent for the building you surely can’t be responsible extra outside work. We are all up in arms about it. They are just bullying us.
“We are finding it hard to make ends meet as it is without extra costs.
“We have to pay £1,700 but the other businesses have to pay double because they have two units.”
Jim Watson, who has run Tinkerbrook Garage for 30 years, said: “I don’t know what we will do.
“You can’t even talk to them about it. In the end they will just do their own thing.
“If you don’t pay it they will just send you the bill. It’s bullying tactics.”
Hyndburn council leader Miles Parkinson said the tenants are ‘obliged’ to carry out the repairs under the terms of their leases.
He said: “We wrote to the tenants last August to let them know that our survey had shown that roof repairs were required and gave them the option to arrange the repairs, or rely on the council’s contractor to make the repairs, giving details of the work and costs involved to help them decide.
“Officers have been in touch on several occasions since to remind them about the repairs and that the council would carry out the repairs if they failed to do so.
“As the work has not been done over a year later, the council is now carrying out the repairs and will look to recover the costs, in accordance with their leases.”