A service charge is a payment that you make towards the costs of providing and maintaining services to your home. Service charges are divided equally between all of the properties in the scheme. The service charge will vary depending on where you live. The list of items which attract a service charge are:
• Handy person
• Gas safety checks and servicing
• Day to day repairs and emergency repairs
• Cleaning of communal areas
• Window cleaning in communal areas
• Maintenance of communal gardens
• Electricity supply to communal lighting
• Smoke detectors
• Buildings insurance
• Maintenance of lifts
• Maintenance of door entry systems
• Maintenance of warden call alarm systems
• Management and administration.
At the end of the financial year the accounts are audited and then you will receive an annual statement showing the actual costs of providing the services and the details of any adjustments. The lease provides for the Association to recover from leaseholders any costs that were more than estimated. The Association also refunds any under-spend.
You have the right to inspect accounts, receipts and other documentation relating to services charges, within six months of receiving the annual statement. The Association will make this information available for a period of two months, no later than one month after receiving a request.
The Association is legally obliged to ensure that the service charges are reasonable. If you think that the service charges are unreasonable or you would like more information, please discuss this with our Housing Manager, Julie Clark. If you are still unhappy you can complain using our complaints procedure. To view our complaints policy click here. To make a complaint click here.
You can also contact your local Leasehold Valuation Tribunal and apply for a decision on whether the charges are reasonable and fair. The Leasehold Valuation Tribunal acts as an independent arbitrator to decide whether or not service charges are reasonable. A tribunal hearing will be arranged and a panel of three people, usually a lawyer, valuer and a layperson will hear the case. It usually includes an inspection of the property and can take place over one or two days. Following the hearing the tribunal will write to the leaseholder and the Association to advise of its decision. The decision will either change the amount the leaseholder has to pay (it could increase or decrease) or will agree with the Association’s charges.
If you make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal, you will have to pay for the cost of your application. The contact details are:-
Leasehold Valuation Tribunal
10 Alfred Place
Tel: 020 7446 7700