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Your Leaseholder Service Charges explained

Estimates and Actuals - How Service Charges work

We do not make a profit on service charges. They are a direct re-charge of expenditure made to deliver services to your block in line with our responsibilities within your lease. Estimates and Actuals are sent out in line with the terms of you lease.

COVID-19 - Estimates are based on a full regular service. If services reduce or increased (for example additional cleans) we will reflect this in the actual costs which you will be notified by October each year.

Estimates

Service charge estimates are sent out in March each year for the coming year's contribution toward services, or works provided to the block or estate where your property is located. These must be paid by equal quarterly instalments, as set out in the lease agreement, in advance, on the first of each of the following months; April, July, October and January.

If you prefer to pay your service charges monthly, it is important that you contact us to let us know. If we have not recorded your instalment plan, you may receive reminder letters from us.

Estimates are calculated by looking at previous year’s final costs (for example estimates for 2019/20 were based on 2017/18 final accounts) we also apply any known variances. The total cost is divided by the number of flats in your block. We count flats that are occupied by tenants as well as leaseholders.

You will receive four demands with the estimate, one for each quarter at the beginning of the financial year. They are sent together in one mail out to help save costs.

Actuals

In August/September each year you will receive a notification of the actual cost of providing all services for the previous service charge period. The estimate and actual cost will be set out in a Certificate of Actual Expenditure.

This is done when the previous financial year has ended, and when the accounts have been finalised.

If your estimated service charge was too low this will show as a debit and you will need to make payment straight away or contact us as soon as you receive the certificate to make an arrangement to spread the payments over the remainder of the financial year.

If your estimated service charge was too high we will let you of the credit to be put on your service charge account. If you pay by direct debit you do not need to do anything, we will inform you separately of any changes to your payments.

Repairs

The repairs service charge covers the cost of making day-to-day repairs to the structure and fabric of your flat block and to its communal areas. The amount charged varies from block to block depending on what work has been carried out.

The repairs charge may also include other costs, such as: emergency lighting inspections and repairs, lift maintenance, fire alarm testing, dry riser testing, fire hydrant testing, asbestos reports, lightening protection testing and Fire safety checks. Only blocks that require these services will have costs included.

It is very difficult to estimate what the responsive repairs will be for the year ahead, and if there are urgent works required during the year, this can result in a difference between the estimate and the actual cost. Your estimate is based on an average of the last 3 years repairs costs.

You can report a communal repair online. It only takes a few minutes to sign up and tell us about the repair.

Report a repair to a communal area - opens new window

Grounds maintenance / tree costs

Service charges will include the cost of grass cutting, and maintenance of planted areas of your block or estate and also any costs of maintaining any trees. The estimated costs for grounds maintenance have been based on the Actual expenditure for the previous year and for tree maintenance an estimate per tree is applied. We adjust the charges when we know what works were carried out at the end of the financial year.

If you have any issues regarding trees and grounds maintenance at your block please report it online.

Report an issue with trees and grounds maintenance - opens new window

Leasehold Team

leaseholdincome@stevenage.gov.uk

01438 242666