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Service charges

A service charge is a payment for the costs of managing, maintaining, and providing specific services in addition to the basic rent you pay for living in your home.

If you live in one of our homes where you receive a service to any part of your building, for example communal hallway cleaning, you will need to pay service charges.

Examples of services include:

  • Communal cleaning - For the cost of cleaning communal areas which could include communal room/areas, kitchen, toilets, hallways, stairways, corridors and staircases
  • Communal window cleaning - For the cost of cleaning windows located in communal areas of your building, on a routine basis in line with the agreed contract. This does not include the windows within your home
  • Fire safety/alarms - For the servicing and inspection of communal fire alarm systems, emergency lighting, smoke detectors, firefighting equipment and suppression systems by our contractors within the building, as required by law
  • Communal electric supply - For the cost of providing lighting within the communal areas of the buildings.

This list is just a few examples of services charged for. You may receive more or less services depending on where you live. Residents in sheltered schemes generally receive the most additional services.

You will also be asked to pay an administrative charge as part of the service charge total. This charge is for the administration costs incurred when organising and managing the services above.

Why do I have to pay service charges when I pay rent?

Your rent only covers the rental of your individual property. Service charges cover some of the cost of communal services that you benefit from or will benefit from, which are outside your home and currently not included in your rent.

How are service charges calculated?

Service charges are calculated based on actual costs of services being delivered and planned services divided by the number of properties in each block of flats or sheltered scheme. The total cost you pay may not be the full costs incurred in delivering the services to you. It is only a contribution towards the full costs.

How is the service charge different from the amenity charge?

The amenity charge, introduced in 2018, is a charge for grounds maintenance/estate management of housing open spaces and for community safety. Service charges cover the cost of providing communal services in the building in which you live.

Can I have a breakdown of my service charges?

The breakdown of service charges for each sheltered housing court and general block of flats can be found on the Service charge breakdowns page.

How do I know what to pay?

The rent and service charges that you are required to pay will be detailed in your annual rent and service charges notification letter, which you will receive in February/March each year.

Why am I paying a different service charge to someone else on my estate?

Other tenants’ services could be different due to the block being smaller/larger or receiving different services.

Will Housing Benefit or Universal Credit help me to meet these costs?

Yes. If you are in receipt of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, service charges will be covered through your benefits, depending on your entitlement.

Do I have to make a separate payment for my service charge?

No. Payment will be collected as part of your weekly rent.

How can I pay my rent and service charge?

You can pay the rent and service charge in a variety of ways, but the easiest is to pay it online, using the link on the Pay your rent page.

What if I cannot afford to pay?

We work with all our tenants to offer welfare benefit advice and income maximisation service.

We will ensure you are getting all the benefits you are entitled to and can also direct you to other agencies providing work, benefit, and debt management support.

If you require the assistance of our Money management advice team, please contact:

  • telephone: 01623 450000 (Option 1 then option 2).

What if I am not happy with the standard of services provided?

Quality of service is important to us. Please be assured that we will conduct regular inspections of our buildings communal areas. If you have any issues or concerns about the service provided, you can raise them: