Understanding your service charges
Service charges are 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 by whether you’re a social tenant, private tenant, shared owner or leaseholder.
They’re estimated by looking at the cost of services for a property in previous years and then working out a projected cost for the coming financial year. To help estimate costs, 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 - your payment is a set amount regardless of the year’s actual costs.
- Variable - 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.
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, property size and the date your tenancy started.
These factors may influence how your rent changes each year and why your rent may differ from others in your neighbourhood.
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 charges on your statement. However, you might see personal charges not included in your rent, eg heating, electricity or water.
Shared owners and leaseholders
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.
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.
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.