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Understanding your service charges

Learn about service charges, the additional costs you may be charged to cover things like buildings insurance, lift maintenance, and sewerage.

Annual service charges vary depending on the type of home you live in, as well as whether you’re a social tenant, private tenant, shared owner, or leaseholder.

They’re estimated by looking at how much services have cost for a property in previous years and then working out a projected cost for the coming financial year. To help with this, we group properties into blocks or estates, and use factors like the number of homes or bedrooms. The actual costs for the year are then measured against this estimate.

Annual service charges are either fixed or variable:

  • Fixed - meaning your payment is a set amount regardless of the year’s actual costs.
  • Variable - meaning your payment changes depending on the year’s actual costs.

If you pay a variable service charge, we’ll let you know the actual annual cost within six months of the end of the financial year. We’ll add or subtract the difference between the estimate and the actual cost to the following year’s charges.

If you have any questions about the service charges please contact us.

PDF download [FAQ about your service charges]

Annual rent review

Each year, we review our rents in line with national guidelines. How your rent is reviewed depends on your tenancy type and a range of factors, including:

  • your property type
  • your property size
  • the date your tenancy started.

These factors may influence how your rent changes and why it may differ from others in your neighbourhood.

Find out more about annual rent reviews

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Types of service charges

Below is a full list of service charges that could appear on your statements.

If you’re a private tenant on an affordable tenancy, specific charges are included with your rent and there won’t be a breakdown of them on your statement. However, you may see personal charges not included in your rent, such as heating, electricity, or water.

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If you’re a shared owner or leaseholder, we tell you the estimated service charge at the start of each financial year. We then update you on what we actually spent within six months of the end of each financial year.

Ground rent

You might also have to pay ground rent to your freeholder. If so, you’ll get a notice of demand before each financial year saying how much you have to pay and whether this will increase over time. The deficit or surplus from this is applied to your account on 30 September each year.

Sinking funds

With some leases, we collect fees for a sinking fund, also known as a reserve fund. Sinking funds are kept in an account that accrues interest and we only use this money when unplanned major works are needed. We’ll let you know how much is in your sinking fund and if we need to use the money.