I complained to Thanet council about this and received this response. What do you reckon? :
There are two sides to every story and unfortunately, on some occasions, both sides are not put forward.
First and foremost, our thoughts and sympathies are with the family of Dorothy Hacking. We have exceptionally caring staff who worked closely with Dorothy and spent time looking into information about potential grants that could be accessed to help her pay for this bill, a fact which may not have come across in the article that you read. Our staff had very close relationship with her and were very upset to hear of her death.
Because we were aware that this would be a large amount of money for leaseholders to find, the council spoke to everyone living in the tower block 22 months before they received bills. The final figure that leaseholders were asked to pay was actually less than the amount they were first quoted, as the job came in under budget.
To help people, the facility to pay the money back over the next five years interest free is also available. Dorothy was the first leaseholder to pay the amount in full in January 2008.
Finally, it's also important to explain that everyone who takes out a lease receives a Right to Buy pack, which clearly sets out the benefits and the potential disadvantages of becoming a leaseholder, so that they are fully aware of the responsibilities of becoming a leaseholder. This includes an explanation that they may be liable for additional charges, should major work such as this, which was essential, be required in the future.
Landlord Services Manager