Payments and charges

Breakdown of service charges

Ground rent

Ground Rent is chargeable because the Council owns the freehold for your property, meaning the land on which your property is situated, along with the block of which your property forms part. Ground Rent is specifically identified within your lease and is charged in advance in line with the Housing Act 1985, Part V at £10, due annually on the 1st April.

Administration 

The Administration charge reflects the administrative costs associated with operating the leasehold management service, and will include costs such as telephony, printing, postage and stationery.

Management

The management charge mainly reflects the staffing costs associated with operating the leasehold management service. However it may also incorporate additional costs such as professional fees, training, subscriptions and licence fees reasonably incurred in the operation of the leasehold management service.

Any ad-hoc income generated by the service, for example; when providing information for private leasehold property sales, will be offset against the management charge to reduce the overall amount to be passed back to leaseholders.

Buildings Insurance

Because the Council owns the block which your property is part of, we are responsible for insuring the whole building. The charges for providing the insurance are split equally between the properties within the block.

The current provision incorporates two distinct elements; full rebuild protection, or block cover, and added perils/fire risk, or personal cover.

The rebuild protection element, or block cover, is variable because it is linked to the estimated rebuild cost of the entire block. This means the charge can vary from block to block depending on factors such as the size of the block, the type of construction and whether it incorporates communal parts such as internal hallways and stairwells.

The added perils/fire risk, or personal cover, provides protection for you in the case that any damage or failing to the building results in damage to, or loss of, permanent fixtures and fittings; these are things within your home which could be considered part of the property such as your central heating system. This generally applies where the loss is specific to you and/or your part of the building, not the entire block. The charge is a fixed amount for all leaseholders.

Fixtures and fittings do not include personal possessions such as TVs, jewellery, furniture and clothes. It is advisable to take out your own contents insurance to cover such items.

If you would like to enquire about contents insurance through the Council, please email [email protected] or telephone 01709 255633.

The most common things not covered by the buildings insurance provision are:

  • General ‘wear and tear’, including damage or loss caused by ‘wear and tear’
  • Repair or maintenance works
  • Damage or loss caused by external companies, such as gas/water/electricity/telecoms contractors, although you may be able to claim against the contractor
  • Damage or loss caused by another person, although you may be able to make a civil (private) claim

Communal Cleaning

If your block has communal areas, sometimes referred to as common parts, which are included in a routine cleaning scheme, you are required to contribute towards the costs of the cleaning service.

The communal cleaning service consists of a weekly general clean to communal areas within the block; usually hallways, stairways and landings.

It includes:

  • Brush/sweep of hard floors
  • Mop of hard floors
  • General dust/wipe of window ledges, communal doors, stair hand rails and associated metal work
  • Removal of general litter (excessive rubbish reported to Neighbourhood team)

The service further includes an annual ‘deep clean’ to communal areas within the block. The deep clean incorporates:

  • Brush all areas
  • Removal of all litter and waste
  • Spray all corners and crevices remove ground-in dirt
  • Wipe all walls and remove graffiti where possible
  • High level dust
  • Disinfectant wipe of window ledges, communal doors, stair hand rails and associated metal work
  • Clean of all internal window areas
  • Mop or machine clean of all area (depending on access)
  • Clean and sweep outside main entrance

Communal windows will also be subject to two external cleans each year. Individual property windows are the responsibility of the resident to arrange to be cleaned.

Please note that residents should not place furniture (including door mats) or rubbish in the communal area as this will obstruct the cleaning service; cleaners are not required to move such items to clean underneath them.

Repairs and Maintenance - Minor Works

This element of your service charges relates to the day-to-day repairs and other associated general maintenance of your block, although some repairs and maintenance is provided by the Council’s contractors under a standard block price and this is not currently recharged to leaseholders.

The costs of repairs and maintenance are split equally between all properties in a block, including those which are still owned by the Council. This is known as apportionment.

For example, if the cost of repairs and maintenance to a block is £1000 and there are four blocks in the property, the cost per property would be £250 and this is the amount each leaseholder would be required to pay. If one or more of those properties are council owned their portion of the costs is incorporated within their weekly rent charge.

Your apportionment will be shown in your lease, although some leases, particularly older ones, may have an incorrect apportionment. Where this is the case the Council always takes the approach of dividing the costs equally within the block.

As part of the billing process we will provide a list of each of the repairs for which a charge is being passed on; giving a description of the work, approximate date of completion, a job reference number and the related cost.

Apportionment

The costs of services delivered to leaseholders are split equally between all properties in a block, including those which are still owned by the Council. This is known as apportionment. Apportionment does not apply to Ground Rent.

For example, if the cost of major works to a block is £5000 and there are four blocks in the property, the cost per property would be £1250 and this is the amount each leaseholder would be required to pay. If one or more of those properties are council owned their portion of the costs is incorporated within their weekly rent charge.

Your apportionment will be shown in your lease, although some leases, particularly older ones, may have an incorrect apportionment. Where this is the case the Council always takes the approach of dividing the costs equally within the block.