A NEWSOME couple are facing a £230 bill - for an unpaid ground rent charge of £5.61.
Mark Oakes and Joan Gill say they have offered to pay the bill, but they are angry about the huge additional "administration costs".
Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman has been campaigning for Government action against London-based ground rent collection firm Estates and Management Ltd, which is claiming the cash.
"It is an ongoing sore that is troubling and worrying a lot of people in the town," he said.
"It is exploitative and manipulative and something needs to be done."
Ms Gill was angry with the firm.
"Mark has tried to talk to them but they do not want to know. We are quite happy to pay the ground rent, years in advance if necessary, but we will not pay the administration charge," she said.
The couple moved into the house in Naomi Road, Newsome, in December, 2002, after Mark had previously been renting it out.
They claim they had never received any letters about the ground rent until February this year, when a letter came saying they owed £3.74 with an administration charge of £225.
M Gill said they got in touch with Estates and Management Ltd but they were not prepared to listen.
She sent a cheque for £3.74 but it was returned saying they would not accept part payment.
Another letter then arrived, with the bill going up to £5.61, for this year's rent as well, with administration charges of £230.
She sent a cheque for £5.61 only to have it returned.
The company bought freeholds of thousand of properties from Kirklees Council in 1994 and 1996.
A spokeswoman for Estates and Management said administration letters cost £35 for the first letter, rising to £70 and £105 for subsequent letters.
After that, she said, they contacted the mortgage company of the property concerned directly at a charge of £225.
She said people were legally liable for ground rent demands six years before the date they moved into a property.
Contact Barry Sheerman's office on 01484 451382.