Stunned pensioners on a Fulham estate have been told they must each pay more than £23,000 for repairs and improvements to their blocks.
Leaseholders were sent individual bills for the work in Aintree Court, off Dawes Road, with each resident asked to fork out for a list of costs including £3,400 for scaffolding, £4,000 for new windows and another £1,100 for every new front door.
Hammersmith and Fulham Council's housing arm, H&F Homes, is also demanding £3,000 from each of them for for brick repairs, £1,700 for concrete repairs, £3,200 for water tanks and £1,000 for cables and lighting and various other expenses incurred through the Decent Homes programme.
The leaseholders have been offered payment plans to spread the cost over three or five years – equivalent to around £300 a month in most cases.
But couples living on state pensions of £200 a week say their incomes will be halved by having to meet the repayments, leaving them unable to afford food and bills.
John Cowper, 77, said: "They've never done any work here for 50 years, then all of a sudden they do this lot and think they can give us a big bill.
"If you haven't got savings, this has to come out of your state pension. We know we have to pay for works, but these prices are just diabolical."
Fellow resident Jean Greenaway, 75, said she feared the high costs would force her to give up her home, which she and her husband bought in the 1980s.
"By the time I die, everything will belong to the council. What's the good of going to work all your life when you might as well have claimed off the government and not bothered to save," she said.
"I thought I'd buy this home for my children so that when I die they'll get something, but it doesn't seem like it will end up going to them. People are just fed up with it all, but what can they do."
The residents claim that despite the high charges, some of the work carried out has not been satisfactory, and are demanding answers as to how it could have cost so much.
At a meeting held to address their concerns last Tuesday, Deon Glasgow, the council's major works coordinator, said health and safety requirements and 'a whole raft of administration and red tape' would have added to the cost of the repairs.
She said: "I would agree with you that the works are expensive, but the savings over tendering and consulting with individual businesses are huge. The council is always working towards finding the best value."
She promised to visit the estate to talk to residents about specific concerns relating to the quality of work before taking their comments back to officers at H&F Homes, who were invited to the meeting but declined to attend.
An H&F Homes spokesman said the organisation was 'sympathetic' to leasholders' concerns, but said flexible payment plans had been developed and residents had been consulted since 2007 about the cost and nature of the work.
He added: "When Decent Homes work started it became apparent that major work was required to ensure the blocks will meet the government's Decent Homes standard and last well into the future.
"No homeowner looks forward to paying major renovation bills, but the alternative to not doing the works would be far worse.
"Leaseholders are required to contribute to costs incurred for works to their homes as part of the lease and are only charged the proportion of the total costs of the works stated in their leases."