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Find out about the different service charges and services related to your annual Service Charge Review.
If you have any queries about your service charges, please complete the form below providing as much detail as possible.
You may have noticed that the letters you have received this year regarding your new charges may look different from previous years. The service charge descriptions and codes have changed to bring them in line with the new Clarion Housing system .
For example, if you previously paid for block and estate cleaning these will show as one charge under the heading of cleaning. If you are a Leaseholder or a Freeholder your letter would have previously enclosed an invoice, these are no longer issued.
Affordable tenancies have communal service charges included within the rent charge. You won’t see a breakdown of the services provided or the charges. Where applicable you may see a breakdown of personal charges, such as heating and hot water, personal electricity or water. These service charges are not included in the rent.
Properties are grouped into blocks or estates for the purpose of apportioning service charges. The block or estate does not necessarily reflect the physical layout of a development. Service charges are apportioned to your property either equally by number of units, number of bedrooms, old rateable values or the square feet of your property. The basis used may differ depending on the service being provided.
For leaseholders and shared owners, your lease may require you to pay ground rent to the freeholder of your property. Your lease will also say if the amount of ground rent payable will increase over time. Ground rent is only payable if you receive a notice of demand, which will usually be sent to you annually before the start of each financial year.
In accordance with your lease or transfer document we will provide you with an estimated service charge at the beginning of the financial year. Within six months of the end of the financial year, we’ll send you a certificate of actual expenditure which outlines the variance between what we estimated and the actual cost incurred. The deficit or surplus from this will be applied to your account on 30 September.
The breakdown of your service charges outlines the charge for services you receive that are not covered by your rent.
We calculate your estimated service charge by looking at how much the service has actually cost in previous years and estimating the cost for the coming financial year.
The actual costs are calculated by determining the costs incurred in the year.
A range of fixed and variable service charge agreements exist. For fixed service charges, this means that where we have overestimated charges in a particular year, we will not be able to refund the amount through your following year’s charges. Equally if we underestimate, we would not recoup this amount.
If your tenancy agreement states you have variable services charges, we have to provide you with a certificate of actual expenditure within six months of the end of the financial year. Any deficit or surplus will be carried over to your next year’s charges.
Below are descriptions for some commonly provided services that may be included in your notification of charges letter.
Due to some changes in our systems the name of the service may appear differently from the notification of charges you have recieved in the past.
This is the cost of removing abandoned vehicles from your estate.
An administration fee of 15% is charged on the total cost of services to communal service charges. It covers our costs for obtaining and managing the service and the cost of preparing and reconciling the service charge account. For example, the administration charge for repairs will help meet the costs of staff involved in ordering the repair, checking the repairs for quality and for paying contractor invoices.
This is for the hire of bins from the local authority or refuse company for the estate or block.
Under the terms of your lease (where it applies), we have an obligation to insure the building on behalf of the leaseholders against risks like fire and flood. Leaseholders and shared owners are re-charged the cost of this insurance.
Building Insurance policy details are:
Building Insurance Provider - Igloo/Protector
Policy Number - Igloo / ASG002/2019 - 932838
Claims telephone number: 01245 341218
Caretaking - Block or Estate
On some sites we have caretakers providing both internal and external services. This charge includes costs such as vehicle hire, cleaning materials, a proportion of the caretaker’s salary and the equipment they use.
Clearance of Rubbish
This charge covers the cost of removing large objects left around the estate and/or block when we are unable to identify and prove who was responsible for leaving it there. This could be a fly tipping incident. It is not the removal of general domestic household waste collected from bins by your local Council.
This is the cost of cleaning the communal parts inside the block such as stairs, communal hallways and pathways by a contractor.
This charge is the cost of electricity and power to communal areas including power to lifts, communal boilers, air source heat pumps and water pumps. Charges are based on the amount billed by the energy provider.
This covers the repairs and maintenance of block and/or street lighting.
Communal Window Cleaning
This charge is for the cleaning of communal windows within a block. This will not include the cleaning of the windows in your own property.
This is a scheme based service to provide facilities management, maintenance access and security for the building.
Day to Day Repairs
This charge covers your share of costs for day-to-day repairs to or within communal areas of your block or on your estate, for example, repairs to a main entrance door. You may not see an estimated service charge for these repairs included but you will be recharged for any eligible works when we send you your certificate of actual expenditure for the previous financial year. Please consider this when budgeting as this could create a deficit on your account.
Door Entry Service Contract
This covers the annual cost of maintaining and servicing door entry systems.
This is the cost of service and maintenance of fire protection measures such as emergency lighting, alarms, sprinklers and automatic opening vent systems.
Grounds maintenance: contract
This is the cost of maintaining the grounds of the estate around or near to your property. This includes services such as grass cutting, tree surgery and maintenance of flowerbeds. External contractors or our own staff may carry out this work.
Grounds maintenance: non contract
This is where grounds maintenance costs have been incurred outside of an agreed contract.
Intensive Housing Management
The provision of an intensive housing management service to residents for management of scheme facilities as delivered by the LiveSmart service.
This charge is for servicing and providing washing and/or drying appliances and the repair and or replacement of equipment if beyond repair.
This includes the cost of servicing and maintenance to make sure that lifts or stair lifts are in good working order.
This cost covers of protection to the building in the event of a lightning strike.
Major works (homeowners only)
Major works costs are for planned or cyclical maintenance such as roof replacements, new lifts, external redecoration and redecoration of communal areas inside a building. Before any major works are started we will consult with shared owners and leaseholders in accordance with Section 20 legislation and advise how much the work is estimated to cost.
We charge management fees to some of our homeowners to cover our costs of managing the relationship with you as set out in your lease or freehold transfer. We set the charge dependant on the property type and the services we provide.
The management fee covers our costs for:
Managing Agent Services
In some cases the freehold is not owned by Clarion and we work with a managing agent who works on behalf of the freeholder to provide a range of services for the estate. Clarion is charged by the managing agent for the cost of these services, which are then recharged through the service charge in line with leases or tenancy agreements. If you wish to know more about the services charged for we will happily provide a copy of the managing agent’s accounts.
Provision of Mechanical and Electrical
This charge relates to provision of a facility within your block, which is usually managed by our mechanical and electrical team, for example the provision of CCTV, door entry phone, TV aerial or fire safety equipment. The cost of providing this service would have been calculated by dividing the cost of the installation by its life expectancy. If you were a former Circle resident you would previously have seen the item charged in the description but now this shows under the one service charge cost.
Provision of Other Equipment
This charge relates to the provision of equipment which would have been calculated by dividing the cost of the installation by its life expectancy. This could item such as salt bins and equipment in drying areas and also covers the maintenance of the equipment. If you were a former Circle resident you would previously have seen the item charged in the description but this now shows under the one service charge cost.
This cost is for the servicing and maintenance of fall arrest equipment used for roof maintenance and window cleaning.
Sewer/Surface Pump Servicing Contract
The cost of maintaining and servicing the waste water/sewerage plant and system serving your home (only applies if you are not connected to a main sewerage system paid for to a Water Authority). This also includes any repairs that may be required
In many leases there is a provision for Clarion to collect payments in advance to create a ‘sinking fund’ (sometimes referred to as a reserve fund). The purpose of a sinking fund is to build up a pot of money to contribute to the cost of any work that may be needed but that does not happen regularly. This would primarily be works deemed as major work, such as structural work or a lift replacement, or planned maintenance such as redecorations to a block.
Sinking Funds help to make the cost of major work more manageable. Leases may state how much is to be contributed each year but usually they do not and Clarion decides how much the contributions should be. Sinking Funds will earn interest and funds will be held in a special account. They are collected on behalf of the property and any contributions to the Sinking Fund are not repayable when a flat is sold. The fund is only accessed at the point works are charged to you and you will be informed of this and kept advised of how much is in the fund on an annual basis.
Television Aerial Servicing Contract
On some blocks there will be a communal television aerial which individual properties will be connected to. This cost is for the rental, servicing and maintenance of the communal aerial.
Water Hygiene Management
If there is a communal water tank within a block this will need to be tested annually for legionella bacteria. This charge covers the cost of the testing and any associated work or maintenance required.
If you have other service charges listed in your notification that have not been described above please get in touch and we will happily provide this information for you.