Grounds Maintenance - Residents Voice

Service charges

Service charges cover the costs of maintaining communal areas for your estate and/or block.

You can find more details about service charges and the different types you might come across by reading our frequently asked questions below.

Please take a look at our information sheet for details on 2018 service charge estimates.

General information for rent and service charges 2018 


Frequently asked questions

In April 2016, the government approved legislation to reduce general need rents by 1% each year, over a four year period. This is the third year of this being applied.

We’ve tried to make your statement easy to read and have grouped similar costs together under a general heading. The “Explanation of Service Charge Headings” list shows the services that could be included in each cost and a brief description. Please remember that only some of the services in each heading could apply to you.  

A fixed service charge is where we estimate the cost of providing services to a property at the beginning of each financial year.

You then pay the service charge throughout the year. There won’t be additional amounts to pay or any refunds due.

Most residents with assured and assured shorthold tenancies pay a fixed service charge under the terms of their tenancy agreement.

Variable service charges occur when we set an estimated charge at the beginning of the financial year and then produce a final account once the year is complete.

The final account compares our actual costs in delivering services to a property against the estimate that we set. This may result in an additional amount due or credit back.

Some residents on assured tenancies pay a variable service charge.

If you have an assured tenancy, your tenancy agreement specifies whether the service charge is fixed or variable.

The amount will be added or deducted from the following year’s estimated service charge. 

Even though you receive the same services as your neighbour, the terms of your tenancy agreement can sometimes mean you pay differently.

Over the years, we’ve used many different tenancy agreements that set out how we must calculate your charge - for example, some agreements may specify your annual charge is paid over 48 weeks and others over 52 weeks.

It also states whether the service charge is fixed or variable, which can affect the amount you pay because a variable service charge includes the adjustment from the previous year (see answers above).

The management charge includes the costs we incur when we’re:

  • tendering for a new contractor
  • managing the contracts
  • dealing with queries and complaints
  • checking and paying invoices
  • preparing, calculating and issuing service charge statements

If you rent your home, the management charge is 15% of the total cost of eligible services. 

This guide and the general information about service charges for the current year should answer your question but if not, please contact our Customer Contact team. If they can’t answer the query they’ll forward it onto the appropriate person to look into it and get back to you within 10 working days.

This should be reported to our Customer Contact team at the time the service is provided so that we can work with you and the contractor to resolve the issue.

If you’re receiving Housing Benefit (whether this is paid directly to us or to you), then you’ll need to take your rent change letter and the notice (enclosed with this letter) to your local Housing Benefit office, so that they know about your new rent. 

They’ll then re-assess your entitlement and there may be a delay while they change your payments, but don’t worry, this is normal.

If you do have any concerns, please contact your local Housing Benefit office.

If you’re on Universal Credit, you’ll need to send a copy of your rent change letter to the Department for Works and Pensions, so that they know about your new housing costs.

If you have any further questions, please contact us.