Service charges are your share of the day-to-day running costs of your building and the communal areas in and around your building.
Your service charges
If you live on an estate your charge may also contribute towards the maintenance and upkeep of your building, gardens and other shared outdoor space.
Service charges can include:
- repairs and maintenance to the common parts of the building (such as stairwells and staircases, lifts, security systems)
- cleaning and upkeep of communal areas around your home
- payment of utilities for communal areas – such as electricity and water
- grounds maintenance in and around your home and your estate
- buildings insurance (this does not cover the contents of your home)
- management fees
- the costs of a caretaker (in some areas)
Some of your service charge is paid into a reserve fund to help cover the costs for future planned maintenance work or major repairs (such as a heating system upgrade). This is a way of spreading the cost over time to avoid you having to pay a large bill in one go.
Your lease will tell you what services we can charge for and what we cannot charge you for. Most modern leases allow us to ask you to pay service charges in advance repaying any surplus or collecting any shortfall at the end of the year.
Who pays service charges?
Service charges are paid by most leaseholders. The charge applies to all leaseholders in flats and to residents who live in houses on estates where there are shared grounds and outdoor spaces.
When do I pay service charges?
When you buy your home you will pay service charges immediately. You will not be asked to pay into the reserve fund until the start of the next financial year on 1 April. If you want to find out more about reserve funds you will find details in your lease or contact us.
We estimate the annual cost of the services we provide and the service charge year runs from 1 April until 31 March. We review the charge each year and will send a new estimate.
By 30 September, we will send you a summary of the service charge expenditure. If these costs vary from the estimate we made for that year, we will adjust the amount you need to pay in the following year. This is similar to what happens with utility bills.
How are service charges calculated and billed?
Service charges vary from year to year depending on what services we provide and how much they cost.
Each March we let you know what we estimate the service charges will be for the next year (a year runs from 1 April to 31 March). This figure will be based on previous costs and what work is planned. By the following September we will let you know what the actual costs were. If the actual costs are different from our estimate we will adjust the amount you need to pay the following year.