When a flat or maisonette is purchased under the Right to Buy scheme or on the open market, the council is still responsible for the upkeep of the structure, exterior and communal areas of the block and for providing services.
As a leaseholder you have to pay a share of the cost of these services, called a service charge (prices below).
Service charges are paid to the council to cover your share of the cost of managing, maintaining, repairing, insuring and providing services to the block or estate you live in.
You can find out how we calculate them in more detail by downloading our:
Service charges are divided into four areas:
- block repairs
- block insurance
- management costs
You might also have extra charges to pay if you purchase a property in certain blocks of flats that has extra facilities such as:
- caretaking services
- cleaning shared areas
- window cleaning to communal areas
- lift services
- fire equipment
- street cleaning within the boundaries
- electricity and communal lighting
- door-entry system
- communal TV aerial system
Ways to pay for service charges
You can set up a direct debit through your bank and pay on either the 1st or 15th of each month, on a monthly or quarterly basis.
You can pay your service charge by visiting Bills Online. This secure and convenient method of payment is operated for us by allpay.net and the Post Office.
Service charge payment card
You can pay for cards by cash, cheque or debit card at any local housing office or our customer service centre - see our council buildings page for more information. You can also use the payment card at any outlet displaying the Pay Point logo.
Telephone 0844 557 8321 and you will be asked to enter the number on your payment card, then simply follow the instructions. This 24-hour system is operated by allpay.net on behalf of us and is a secure and convenient way to pay.
Statements and invoices
You will be sent your annual service charge estimate in February detailing how much we expect your services to cost for the coming year.
You will be invoiced in arrears for four quarterly payments during the year, which will be sent to you in June, September, December and March. You should pay these invoices promptly.
In October of the following year, you will be sent a summary of the actual costs of providing each service for the previous financial year.
If the actual service charge costs are more than we estimated you will be asked to pay the difference. If the actual costs are less than we estimated, we will credit your account with the difference.
If you do not agree with the service charges, contact us on 01223 457835 or email email@example.com
Disputes over charges
If you have any queries regarding your service charge or major works bill, in the first instance, you should contact us.
Should you still feel that the charges are unreasonable you can apply to Property Chamber, First Tier Tribunal to settle your dispute.
The First Tier Tribunal offers an alternative to court action. When there is a dispute over charges you will have to pay an application fee, which will vary according to each individual dispute.
You are advised to take expert advice before taking your case to the tribunal.
Services vary from one block to another and one estate to another. Generally this will cover maintaining any grassed area and shared gardens, and cleaning shared areas.
Block repairs and maintenance
We are committed to making sure your home is in a good state of repair, and we aim to carry out regular maintenance to make sure the structure of the outside of your home is secure and weatherproof.
We insure you against loss of, or damage caused to, the buildings.
A summary of this cover is available on request.
We will insure the building your home is in for the full cost of rebuilding it, not for the price we would get for selling it.
The management costs cover your contribution for:
- administrative costs to send out your invoices every three months
- administrative costs of dealing with any repairs that may need carrying out
- surveyors who come and look at the structural repairs to check what work needs to be done
- administrative costs of dealing with insurance claims
- administrative costs of working out your service charges
- the staff who are on hand to answer any queries you may have
We review your service charges every year. The amount you pay is based on how much of the block you live in.
All council leaseholders have to pay an annual ground rent of £10.
Ground rent is due annually in advance and will be due on the anniversary of the original sale of your property.