If you live in a certain type of property, you may also have to pay service charges - as well as your rent. We will only charge you for the services that you receive, based on the actual costs that we pay every year to provide these services.
They cover services such as repairs, upkeep, improvements, household contents insurance or management costs.
We will provide you with a breakdown of the service charges every year.
Repairs service charge
As a landlord we have a duty to maintain our blocks of flats to a good standard. If we don’t spend money on repairs/maintenance the flats would deteriorate and fall into disrepair, resulting in a less pleasant environment to live in.
We appreciate that part of the money we spend has to be re-charged to leaseholders. If we don’t spend money on maintenance we would be failing our duty as landlord and your investment in your home could suffer.
The costs we ask you to contribute towards will depend on your location and type of property and will be dependent on what services are provided to your block and estate.
Your repairs service charge is the money you pay towards the day to day repairs costs of your block of flats.
You don’t contribute to the cost of service and repairs which are provided only for the benefit of the council occupation contract holders in the building. You only pay for services which are provided for both occupation contract holders and leaseholders.
Depending on your building, the service charge could cover...
- heating and lighting of shared areas and stairways
- communal TV aerial maintenance
- door entry systems
- day to day repairs
- maintenance of shared gardens
- maintenance of boundary walls and fences
The service charge is to pay for the cost of the repairs carried out during the previous calendar year. If no repairs are carried out to the building, then no service charge will be raised for that year.
We’ll calculate the cost of the repairs that were carried out in each block of flats for the previous year (from January 1 to December 31) and recover this cost from you through an annual service charge.
You’ll be sent an invoice in December each year.
Your ground rent is £10 per year which is payable to us (as your landlord) and is shown on your annual invoice.
A minimum of 8 cuts will be carried out on communal and open plan grass areas outside your block of flats. For this work there may be a charge which will be included as part of your service charge.
When you purchase the leasehold of your flat, buildings insurance cover is automatically provided by us under the terms of the lease agreement. The cost of this insurance is invoiced to you each year (normally in December). We buy the insurance cover for all the sold flats under one policy - which helps to reduce the cost of the premiums you pay.
The main insurance covers damage to the structure of your flat caused by fire, storm or flood (general maintenance work is not covered by the insurance). Cover is also provided for malicious damage, theft or attempted theft, some limited accidental damage cover, cover for your liability to others in connection with the property, subsidence and alternative accommodation for you if severe insured damage makes your flat uninhabitable.
We strongly recommend that you arrange your own contents insurance to cover your belongings.
How do I report damage or make a claim?
Any damage caused by an insured risk, (for example damage to the roof caused by a storm) to the exterior of the block of flats should be reported to email@example.com immediately, so they can arrange for the damage to be repaired.
However, any damage caused by an insured risk to your fixtures and fittings, such as your bathroom suite or fitted kitchen within your flat, should be treated as a claim on your policy. You should email firstname.lastname@example.org and include your name, address, contact number and a brief description of what has happened.
Any claim for theft or malicious damage needs to be reported to the police - as the insurers will need a police crime reference number to process the claim.
A copy of the policy booklet detailing cover is provided to you, take the time to read the policy booklet.
Email email@example.com if you have any questions about the cover or would like to request a replacement copy of the policy booklet.
The policy cover and premium charged is based on owner occupation. If you let your flat to others you need to do this formally - through a periodic or fixed term standard occupation contract. You’ll need to advise our Legal Department of the agreement without delay, if you haven’t already done so.
Pay your leaseholder charge
You can pay your charge...
- By Direct Debit, you can do this by calling us on 01978 298992 to request a Direct Debit mandate
- On our e-store
- By telephone (available 24 hours) using a credit or debit card. Call 0300 333 6500 and follow the automated instructions
- By cash, credit or debit card at any local housing estate office
You’ll need to pay invoices in full and on time. Failure to do so may result in legal action being taken against you for the initial invoice.
What if I can't pay an invoice?
We recognise there may be occasions when you might not be able to pay an invoice in full. If you’re unable to pay an invoice you should call us on 01978 298992. Where hardship can be proven it may be possible to arrange an alternative payment plan.
To prove hardship you’ll need to provide income and expenditure details. A figure will be calculated from the information you give us, which should be reasonable based on your financial circumstances.
Don’t ignore any invoice as failure to act may result in final demands, the debt being forwarded to an external collection agency, or even legal action being taken.
What if I disagree with the service charges?
We always attempt to calculate charges fairly and correctly, but if you think we’ve made a mistake or have charged for works you feel haven’t been carried out, you can call the Housing Service on 01978 298993.
Failure/refusal to pay your service charge
Your lease is a legally binding document and by signing your lease you agree to pay charges for any repairs we need to carry out and for the cost of us maintaining your property and block.
By refusing to pay, you’re breaking the terms of your lease and we can go to court to seek judgment against you for any money owed. If you’ve taken a mortgage out on the property we’re obliged to inform your building society if such a breach has taken place.
In extreme cases, the court may decide that you’ve seriously broken the terms of your lease and give us possession of your flat.
Any action being taken against you will mean there will be legal costs and court fees, and increase any liability owed. It’s important that you work with us to sort out any difficulty before it escalates to this stage.