What are service charges?
Service charges cover the cost of maintaining the block of flats and estates where you live. Your bill, issued annually in arrears, may include charges for:
- Communal repairs, maintenance and improvements
- Lighting and cleaning of communal areas and footpaths
- Cleaning/fly tipping
- Lift maintenance
- Grounds maintenace
- Administration and Management fees
- Buildings insurance and ground rent
What is ground rent?
Ground rent is the charge you pay once a year for renting land on which your property stands. It is a small charge (£10) that does not change. This is billed separately and is payable in advance.
How is the service charge worked out?
As a leaseholder, your lease requires you to pay a reasonable proportion of the costs incurred in managing and maintaining the block where you live and the surrounding estate. Your charge is normally calculated by splitting the cost of the work by the number of properties in the block. So if a repair cost £100 and there are 10 flats in the block, you would pay £10 towards that repair.
The buildings insurance premium and the Council’s management fee are also included in the service charge.
When does the service charge have to be paid?
The service charge year runs from the 01 April to 31 March next. Charges for the previous 12 months are calculated based on actual expenditure on services. Invoices are normally dispatched June / July and are due for immediate payment.
If major works have taken place you may be presented with an invoice on completion of the works. We will provide you with a statement showing the cost of the work and then this charge will be included on the service charge invoice along with the other service charges.
Querying your service charge
If you have any queries about your service charge, you should let us know. We will provide you with as much information as possible to support the service charges. You are entitled to inspect tenders, supporting documents and statements relating to your invoice. To do this, you will need to make an appointment with Cheltenham Borough Homes.
Limits on Service Charges
The Council will send a bill for services and other work not longer than 18 months from the date or providing the service or carrying out the work. We can only send a bill after 18 months if we have informed you in writing that there will be a delay.
Limits during the initial period
When a tenant first buys the lease, they are given an offer notice. This notice includes estimates of general repairs, services and details of proposed major repairs and improvements. The Council cannot charge you more than the estimates plus inflation for work carried out in the initial period. The initial period generally lasts for 5 years from the date the lease was first purchased. When this period has run out the council can charge you your share of the reasonable cost of the work.