Your service charge

Man with lawnmower Catalyst have made some recent improvements to the service charge customer experience:

How do I pay my service charge?

We take payment by direct debit, standing order, AllPay card or over the phone (call our customer contact centre on 0300 456 2099, Mon-Fri 8am-6pm).

What is a service charge?

If you’re a Catalyst tenant, leaseholder, shared owner or freeholder, you have to pay a charge for the servicing and maintenance of any internal or external communal areas where you live. This is your service charge.

The exact make-up of your service charge depends on the type of property you live in.

If you pay rent, the service charge is additional to your rent.

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.

Fixed and variable service charges

Some Catalyst customers – usually tenants – pay a fixed service charge. Some customers – usually shared owners, leaseholders and freeholders – pay a variable service charge.

How much is my service charge?

1. If you pay a fixed service charge

In February each year, we send you a notice of what your service charge will be for the next service charge year (1 April to 31 March).

2. If you pay a variable service charge

At the beginning of each service charge year (1 April to 31 March), we send you a service charge estimate. The estimate is the amount you will pay for that year. It’s based on how much we spent on service and maintenance for your property in the previous year. But it also takes into account any changes in contracts, inflation (if applicable) and expected extra spending.

After the end of each service charge year (and always by 30 September), we send you a summary of the service charge expenditure for the previous year. It compares the service charge estimate with what we actually spent on your property. If the estimate was too low, we add the difference to your service charge for the following year. If the estimate was too high, we take the difference off your service charge for the next year.

The charges you have to pay for the services provided to your property are set out in your lease, transfer of parts or tenancy agreement and will vary from year to year depending on what works are needed and their costs at the time.

To learn more about major works and service charges, please visit Ask Catalyst for our FAQs.