This information applies to tenants. If you are looking for information for shared-owners and leaseholders, please go here.
What is a service charge?
Service charges cover your share of the cost of communal services to your building or estate.
This can include cleaning, grounds maintenance, communal lighting, servicing and maintaining lifts, fire safety equipment, repairs and general maintenance. We calculate your service charge using both known and unknown costs.
Known costs include services where there is an existing contract in place, such as cleaning and grounds maintenance. With these contracts we know in advance exactly how much it is going to cost us each year to provide these services to residents.
Unknown costs are for services, like repairs and utility bills, where we are don’t know in advance precisely how much these things will cost for the coming year. Where this is the case we look at a number of factors, including previous years’ expenditure, and charge accordingly.
As a tenant you will also pay us an administration fee, to cover the in-house cost of providing our services to you.
Your fixed service charge
In line with your tenancy agreement, fixed service charges are set for the year ahead based on the known costs, and unknown costs are calculated using previous years accounts for your building or estate, with a small increase to account for inflation. We also take into account any information we have about service changes that may happen during the year.
Fixed service charges are different from variable service charges, which are paid by homeowners, and are not re-calculated at the end of the year. This means that should the costs for your building or estate be overspent at the end of the year, we cannot come back to you to request any further money. It also means that should the building or estate be underspent, no money will be returned to you.
Do I pay for all services?
In accordance with Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 and your tenancy agreement, we can only charge you for certain services.
For example, we cannot charge you for any repairs or works we do to the exterior or structure of your building, or to any heating or water systems, or repairs inside your home. Any costs associated with these kinds of works are covered by your rent payments.
As well as this, we do not charge you for building insurance or the cost of auditing the annual service charge accounts.
If you are unsure about what you can be charged for as a service charge, you should check your tenancy agreement or speak to your Neighbourhood Officer.
Value for Money
We are always looking at ways to make sure the services included in your service charge are obtained at the best possible price
This year we have procured several new contracts including cleaning and grounds maintenance.
All savings gained from these new contracts have been reflected in this years’ service charge.
As part of the annual service charge process, we continually investigate areas and issues that residents raise, and where necessary we have carried out more thorough reviews at a number of our buildings and estates.
All of this work goes to ensure that you are paying the correct amount for the services we provide.
While we’ve worked hard to make sure your fixed service charge is accurate, in some instances households have previously paid incorrect charges or not paid for all the services they receive.
Correcting this means a higher service charge for these particular households. To cushion any increase in costs, we have capped any increases to a maximum total of £5 per week, and absorbed any additional cost.