For you

    Your services 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. Some service charges for residents are paid as part of their rent, 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.
    • Pest control A small amount is often included in the estimates for Pest control as a reactive service. If required, it can take multiple visits to resolve the problem and can be costly, so it is important to account for this.  
    • 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.
    • 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 is the difference between fixed and variable service charges?

    A fixed service charge is estimated at the start of the year and fixed for the whole year. If the actual cost at the end of the year is higher or lower than the estimate, the charge can't be changed or charged to the resident as a one off sum. However, the estimated charge may be changed in the following year to ensure costs are recovered. A variable service charge is an estimated charge set at the beginning of the year for the whole year. If the actual cost is higher at the end of the year the difference will be charged back to the resident and if the actual cost is lower the difference will be credited back to you.

    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 “Your Actual Service Charges” provides the year end account and the balancing credit or deficit for your property. Residents who have received this booklet are on a variable service charge arrangement. The booklet also provides helpful 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 have I not received an actual service charge account before?

    Prior to 2017-18 you may have been on a fixed service charge arrangement whereby you only contributed estimated charges. However, following a consultation in 2016-17, the vast majority of residents moved to a variable service charge arrangement. This allows for greater transparency of charges and ensures you only contribute to the actual costs of providing communal services at your property.

    Have all residents received a booklet?

    We have consulted all our residents and advised of the benefits of a variable service arrangement. However, some residents have had the option to remain on the fixed service charge arrangement due to specific rights in their individual tenancy agreement.

    Why do I have a deficit?

    The actual cost of providing communal services is higher than the amount estimated on your account for 2017-18. The details of services provided at your property are listed in your personalised booklet. You do not have to pay this amount at this time. Instead a balance brought forward will be applied to your estimated charges for 2019-20.

    Why do I have a credit?

    The actual cost of providing communal services was less than the estimated charges on your account for 2017-18. The details of services provided at your property are listed in your personalised booklet. A credit balance brought forward will be applied to your next set of estimated service charges reducing your contributions in 2019-20.

    What are schedules?

    Schedules are 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 agreement. Charges are apportioned based on either the relative floor area of your property, split evenly across all properties. Some properties located on the Isle of Dogs are calculated by rateable value. 

    What is a Section 20B? 

    Where we do not have sufficient 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 require 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.

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

    Your first point of contact is your customer accounts advisor. You can discuss any concerns and enquiries you have with them.

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