Questions about service charges

Questions about services charges

This information applies to homeowners. If you are looking for information for tenants, please go here.

How can I pay my service charge?

You can pay by Direct Debit, standing order, payment card or online through AllPay.

Why do I have to pay service charge?

Your service charge pays for the services provided to your block e.g. grounds maintenance, cleaning, lifts and communal repairs.  You will also pay a yearly building insurance premium to cover any insured perils.

Why are service charges estimated?

As you pay your service charge in advance we estimate how much it will cost to provide services to your block for the year ahead which runs from  April through to March. We usually will send you your Estimated Service Charge for the year ahead by the end of February each year.   

When will I know how much it will cost for the year?

We aim to inform you of your Actual Service Charge costs within six months of the year end.  Your Actual Service Charge Statement will detail the actual costs of managing and running your building. A credit or debit adjustment will be shown on your statement to tell you whether we have over or under anticipated our charges from when you received your Estimated Service Charge at the beginning of the year.     

What is the sinking fund?

As part of your service charge you will contribute towards the sinking find.  This money is used to pay for any planned major or cyclical works to your building . For example, window renewal or communal decoration works. If the works costs more than is in the sinking fund, we will ask you to pay your share of any balance.

I’ve just received a statement with a credit, how do I get a refund?

You can email us at, or send us a letter requesting a refund. If you would like the money paid directly into your bank account, please provide your bank details. If you prefer we can send you a cheque. To request a refund by letter, please write to Income team, Wandle, Second floor Minerva House, Montague Close, London SE1 9BB.

Do homeowners subsidise tenants?

No. There are some service charges costs paid by homeowners that are not included in the service charges paid by tenants. The tenant’s share of these costs is paid by Wandle from the rental income we receive. This is because our tenants are assured tenants, not leaseholders with a lease. 

As examples, tenants do not pay for building insurance, repairs to the structure/exterior of the building, or for cyclical decorations. As stated above, their share of these costs are paid for by Wandle.

For any given service charge item you are only required to pay for your share. For example, if there are two homeowners and eight tenants in a block of ten dwellings, you would pay one-tenth of the total cost of any given service relating to your block. You will never pay more simply because there are tenants in your block.

Why is there such a big surplus or deficit on my account?

Your estimated service charge is based on the information available to us about the costs we are likely to incur in that year.
There will always be a difference between the budget for services and the actual costs that arise, and we will continue to use new information to improve our estimates. Variations can be quite large, and these usually arise when the information available to us is limited, or when we have unexpected or unplanned costs, for example urgent repairs, or perhaps high utility invoices.

I bought my home during the financial year, does this affect how the balancing charge is dealt with?

If you purchased your property from another leaseholder or shared owner within the year, the full amount of the year end balancing charge will be applied to your account. Your solicitor may have arranged for some of the purchase monies to be held back to meet any deficit that might arise, and you should contact them to see if that is the case. This is sometimes called retention monies.
If you purchased your property directly from Wandle as a new home, we apportion your service charge to take into account the date you completed and we will not charge you for any "void" periods prior to the date you purchased your home.

My home is managed by an external provider - what's different?

If your home is managed by an external provider you will see a Third Party Management Fee on your account. We will provide you with a copy of the demand or final account from the managing agent, which will include a breakdown of this cost.
Your Estimated Charge will always be based on the most recent estimated or actual demand we have received from the managing agent, and may include our share of the surplus or deficit for the whole site from an earlier period. Where there are external managing agents responsible for providing services, budgeting is heavily reliant on the information provided by the managing agents.

I live in a new property and there is a large difference between my estimate and actual bill?

If you recently purchased a new home with us, and a Third Party Management Agent is responsible for providing all the services, you might receive a credit on your service charge actual this year.

The management agent may not have yet billed us for the full cost of services to your block, and in these instances the charges will be passed onto you in next year's end of year accounts.

This is sometimes called a "notional credit", and we recommend that the credit remains in your account to meet the costs when they are applied to your account next year.

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