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    Service charges
    Your service charges are set to cover the cost of services we provide as well as repairs and maintenance to the common parts of your block or estate.

    What services are covered by your service charges?

    Each individual development has its own needs and requirements. However, below is a list of common services we provide:

    • Cleaning/Caretaking – This can include cleaning and maintenance of internal communal areas, stairs and rubbish chutes.
    • Gardening and grounds maintenance – Examples include cutting grass and planting and weeding flower beds.
    • Rubbish bin hire – This is for the hire of bins and any additional collections from the local authority.
    • Lighting consumables – This can be a block or estate cost and covers the replacement of any lightbulbs in the communal areas.
    • Entryphone – The cost of repairing and maintaining the Entryphone system in the block.
    • Day to day maintenance/Communal Repairs – This charge covers any repairs to the structure, communal areas and services in your building.
    • Buildings insurance – It is a requirement for the freeholder to insure the building on behalf of the residents against risks like fire and flood.
    • Management fee – This is a flat fee charged on a per unit basis. This is based on the spend for the year on staff costs and overheads for preparing service charge estimates and accounts.

    What are actual service charges?

    Actual service charges are the actual costs of providing services at your property. At the beginning of the year we estimate charges based on the amount spent in previous years - this includes inflation and other factors. We have reviewed the actual cost of providing communal services at your property in 2017-18. Your year-end service charge account compares the actual cost to the estimated charges applied to your account between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018.

    Why have I received a booklet called “Your Actual Service Charges”?

    The booklet provides the year-end account information and balancing credit or deficit for your property. It also provides information on how service charges are calculated and who you can contact if you have any questions that have not been answered in the booklet.

    Why do I have a deficit?

    Where the actual cost of providing communal services or repairs has exceeded your estimated charges a balancing charge called a deficit will be applied to your account. The details of services provided at your property are listed in your personalised booklet. 

    Why do I have a credit?

    Where the actual cost of providing communal services or repairs is less than your estimated charges a balancing payment called a credit will be applied to your account. The details of services provided at your property are listed in your personalised booklet. 

    What are schedules?

    Schedules put together to group properties that benefit from or have access to the same services. A service provided to every property such as grounds maintenance is allocated to the estate schedule to which all properties contribute. Block specific costs such as lift maintenance will be allocated to the block schedule. Schedules ensure that residents only contribute to services/repairs that they have access to and/or benefit from. 

    Why do I pay for the same service in different schedules?

    In some cases costs are applicable to multiple schedules. One example is communal electricity that may serve an estate appliance like a communal boiler system but also separately block services such as internal lighting.

    How has my contribution to schedules been calculated?

    The percentage you contribute to each schedule has been calculated according to the terms of your lease. Charges are apportioned based on either the relative floor area of your property, split evenly across all properties or by rateable value.

    I have just purchased my property. Why am I being charged this amount?

    All service charges are applied to the property lease and not the resident. Similarly if your account is in surplus the full year-end credit will be applied to your account. You will need to discuss these details with your solicitor if any alternative arrangements, such as retention of funds, were made.

    What is a Section 20B? 

    Where we do not have enough information to finalise your year-end service charge account we may postpone the account under section 20B of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. We will only postpone an account where we need more information to ensure that all charges are fair and reasonable. If this is necessary we will write to residents informing them that the account has been postponed and providing the maximum deficit/minimum credit for the whole estate.

    Why do some residents not contribute to repairs in their service charges?

     All residents contribute to repairs. But the method in which they contribute depends on their tenure type. Residents who own or part own their property will contribute to repair costs through their service charges. Residents who rent their property contribute via their rent. Importantly each resident only contributes their proportion of costs. In no way does one resident subsidise the costs of another.

    How do I pay?

    You can contact your leasehold accounts advisor to discuss payment options. These details are listed in your booklet.

    Who can I talk to about the service charges if I have any questions?

    Your first point of contact is your home ownership advisor. You can discuss any concerns and enquiries you with them. 

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