Updated 7 November 2019
What is a service charge?
A service charge is a payment made by a tenant or homeowner towards the cost of services and repairs beyond those specifically for their house or flat. For example, if you live in a block of flats with a communal garden, the cost of maintaining that garden is covered by a service charge because it is available to all residents as a communal service and it is outside of their flats.
- I can’t afford to pay my service charge or rent, what should I do?
What services are covered by a service charge?
As a landlord, we are obliged to provide you with certain services and repairs, which we then charge on to the residents who received the service.
The exact services you pay for will be set out in your tenancy agreement or lease, but could include:
- Employing a caretaker
- Cleaning communal areas, including cleaning windows and removing dumped rubbish
- Gardening and grounds maintenance
- Repairs to communal facilities such as door entry systems, television aerials and lighting
- Lift maintenance and repairs
- Providing fire-fighting equipment, including repairing and testing emergency lighting and smoke alarms
- Providing water, electricity and gas supplies to communal areas
- Insurance for blocks of flats and houses (usually homeowners)
- Health and safety such as fire safety, legionella, asbestos and electrical testing in communal areas.
Am I a tenant or a homeowner?
Tenants are residents, who rent their homes from Hyde under a tenancy agreement. Types of tenure include secure and assured tenancies, starter tenancies, market rent and affordable rent tenures.
Homeowners are residents, who wholly or partly own their own homes, under a lease. These can include leaseholders, freeholders and shared owners as well as residents who have bought under the Right to Buy, Right to Acquire and Shared Ownership schemes.
Why does my statement have two lines for provisions? (Provisions and provisions – homeowner)
Tenants don’t pay separately towards certain aspects of the upkeep to a property. Their contribution is included in their rent. We therefore split this up as provisions that all residents pay towards and those that only homeowners pay towards. Read more on our Understanding your statement and glossary pages.
Where can I find my apportionment costs on my statement?
Following the implementation of our service charge system and the new property groupings, the apportionment is no longer showing on your statement. You will instead see the total costs for the different property grouping and what your share of that cost is.
Why have some service costs increased?
Service charges can increase for a variety of reasons, such as important fire safety work, changes to cleaning and grounds maintenance projects or just inflation increases. If you have a query about your bill please contact us using the online form.
What should I do if I have a service on my statement that I don’t receive?
If you have any concerns about communal services delivered to your property, you should contact our dedicated team who will be happy to discuss the matter with you.
I have a caretaking cost on my statement but we don’t have a caretaker. Why do I have this charge?
Caretaking and other staff costs cover not only Caretakers but also Concierge, Handymen, Estate Guardians or dedicated scheme officers. You will only be charged for a service that is delivered to your block or estate.
Why have I got a charge for bulk refuse collection? Isn’t this something the local authority pays for?
The local authority is not responsible for clearing bulk or dumped rubbish from our privately owned buildings or estates. If this occurs where you live, we arrange for our contractors to remove these items and the cost is charged back.
What is a fire safety check?
Fire safety checks include regular (monthly, quarterly or annual) checks to a number of different fire safety related equipment. This can include, but is not limited to dry risers, smoke or heat detectors, or emergency lighting. Some of our blocks may have all of these items that require checking whereas others may only have one or two.
Why am I being charged for cleaning and grounds maintenance?
Where Hyde is the landlord, we have a responsibility to clean and maintain our blocks and estates. The cost of this work is then recharged via the service charge.
What happens if I have a managing agent?
Where there is a managing agent in place they may be responsible for providing the service and then recharging Hyde for this work. We will then include this on your statement as a managing agent cost.
The quality of the cleaning and grounds maintenance is poor, what should I do?
If you have any concerns about any service being delivered to your property you should contact us using the online form and the appropriate team will be happy to discuss the matter with you.
The value of my share is more than one. How is my share calculated?
The example below shows how your share is calculated by floor area.
- The overall value 7500 m2
- Your value is 98 m2
- The overall cost of the service £5,000
- Calculation = £5,000 / 7500 m2 x 98 m2 = £65.33
If you still have a query, please contact us.
I brought my property this financial year. Why am I receiving a charge for 2018/19 when I did not own the property then?
Service charges are connected to the property, not the owner so as soon as you buy a property, the responsibility for service charges are transferred to you. We provide a pre-sale pack to the seller’s solicitors which should be shared with the buyer’s solicitors before contracts are exchanged. The pre-sale information provides an overview of the property charges and the responsibility of sharing this information sits with the solicitors for the buyer and seller.
Any charges raised in arrears will be sent to the new owner and they will be responsible for payment of any additional debt. The new owners will also be entitled to claim any credit that has been raised in arrears. Often, the solicitors who act in the sale will hold a sum of money, known as a ‘retention’, that may cover these charges. If you are unsure, please contact the solicitor who acted on your behalf.