Your lease says that you should pay a proportion of the cost of carrying out repairs to your building on your estate. This is known as a service charge. The lease also says how the service charge should be calculated, when invoices will be sent to you, and how they should be paid.
Sections in this guide (click title to view)
- 1. How we invoice service charges
- 2. Paying your service charge invoice
- 3. How we calculate your day to day service charge invoice
- 4. Services making up the day to day service charge
- 5. Refund requests
- 6. Ask about your day-to-day service charges
1. How we invoice service charges
‘Day-to-day’ service charges are billed every year. They cover the cost of services provided year round, like caretaking and cleaning.
The financial year runs between 1 April and the following 31 March. Before the start of each financial year, we’ll send you an estimated invoice for day to day service charge costs that we expect to spend during the year.
At the end of the year, we’ll work out how much was actually spent. We will notify you of the actual amount within six months of the end of the year. You’ll get a further invoice when the spend was higher than estimated, and when it was lower than estimated you’ll get a credit note.
You can read a summary of your rights and obligations regarding your service charges.
2. Paying your service charge invoice
All service charge invoices now have a unique nine digit invoice number. This means that you can make payments directly against that invoice, and easily see which year payments or adjustments relate to.
You’ll also have a nine digit account number. Your account balance is the sum of the balances of all the invoices on your account, for day to day service charges and major works. If you don’t quote a specific invoice number with your payment, the payment will be automatically allocated to the oldest invoice on the account.
You can pay invoices in full as you receive them, but your lease also allows you to pay your day to day service charge estimate in 12 equal monthly instalments, April to March, on the first day of each month.
3. How we calculate your day to day service charge invoice
We will always calculate service charges according to the terms of your lease.
For most services, the charge will be calculated in the following way:
- if the service is provided to a block, the charge is based on the total cost of the service shared across the whole block
- if the service is provided to an estate, the charge is based on the total cost of the service shared across the whole estate.
4. Services making up the day to day service charge
There are a number of services making up the day to day service charge. Some are provided to the block, some to the estate, and some are split into block and estate components.
You’ll only be charged for services that are provided to your block or to your estate. Some services are provided every year. Others will only be charged if any work is carried out during that year.
Boiler repairs and maintenance
If your home is supplied by a communal heating system, we’ll recharge a proportion of the cost of repairs we carry out to the system during the year.
As the freeholder, the council have to take out building insurance on your behalf. The insurance means that the structure of the building can be repaired if it is damaged. It also means that you can make a claim if problems with the building cause damage to your home.
You’ll be charged for provision of CCTV if your block is provided with this service.
We provide a cleaning and caretaking service to our estates and to any blocks that have communal areas.
This is a charge for the supply of electricity to communal areas, for example to lifts or to lighting within block staircases. The charge is split into block and estate costs.
Communal electrical maintenance
This is a charge for maintenance of the communal electrical systems in your block.
Communal ventilation maintenance
Some blocks are provided with a communal ventilation system to ventilate their kitchens and bathrooms. This charge is levied if a system is present in your block and covers the maintenance of fans and vents.
Communal water quality
The charge covers the cost of maintaining any cold water tanks and other communal water services and repairing them if there any problems.
Communal window cleaning
This charge covers the cost of the contract for cleaning the communal windows in your block, if any are present.
This charge covers the cost of providing a concierge service to some blocks.
This charge covers the eradication of pests, such as mice or cockroaches, where they have affected more than one property in a block.
Door entry system
This charge covers the provision of an entryphone or similar security system, if one is fitted to your block. It includes any repairs and maintenance necessary to the system during the course of the year.
A dry riser is a system of pipework usually installed in buildings with floors 18 metres or more above ground level.
The pipework enables the fire service to deliver water at high pressure to the upper floors of a building in the event of a fire. The charge covers the maintenance of this system in blocks where it is present.
Fire ventilation maintenance
This charge covers the maintenance of the automatic ventilation system installed in some blocks.
This charge covers the maintenance of the communal gardens and grassed areas on estates. We employ a contractor to regularly cut the grass and maintain any flowerbeds: the maintenance schedule for your estate will be posted in the entrance hallway of your building.
Hot water and heating
If you’re connected to a communal boiler system, you’ll be charged for the supply of your heating and domestic hot water.
This charge covers the maintenance of the lightning conductors and associated equipment in some blocks.
Lift services and repairs
We carry out regular maintenance each year to our lifts. As well as yearly maintenance, the contract covers callouts and emergency repairs.
These maintenance and repair costs are covered by the lift services charge. If your block has a lift, you’ll be required to contribute towards lift maintenance even if you live on the ground floor.
Repairs and maintenance
This is a charge for minor repairs and maintenance carried out to communal areas. The charge is split into block and estate costs.
- Block charges are for repairs carried out to the communal areas of the block
- Estate charges are for repairs carried out to estate pathways, roads and other common areas
This charge covers the cyclical and day to day maintenance of the trees on our estates and around residential blocks.
This charge covers the maintenance of the communal TV aerial equipment in some blocks.
The management charge and ground rent
As well as the services making up the day to day service charge, your estimate will include a management charge and a sum for ground rent.
The ground rent is defined in your lease and is fixed every year. Most leaseholders will pay £10 yearly, though some properties sold at auction may be charged a different ground rent.
The lease also allows us to charge a management charge of a minimum of 10 per cent of the invoice cost (excluding the ground rent and the management charge itself).
The management charge goes towards covering the cost of administrating and calculating the service charges and the cost of managing the contracts and services that we provide.
5. Refund requests
If you have credit on a service charge invoice, you can request a refund.
Download the request form below and return it to Homeownership Services by email or post - the details are on the form.
You can fill in the form using Fill & Sign on Adobe Acrobat Reader DC. This allows you to add text to the PDF form and sign it with a signature.
If you’ve not used Fill & Sign before, have a look at the guide by Adobe. If you’re using an older version of Adobe Acrobat that doesn't have Fill & Sign, you can update to the latest version for free.
6. Ask about your day-to-day service charges
If you think your service charge bill is wrong, you can tell us what you think is wrong and ask us to check your charges.