Updated September 2020
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?
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 do I have to pay service charges?
Your lease or tenancy agreement sets out what service charges you have to pay and when. Please check what it states for your property. You will also receive a ‘Rights and Obligations’ document with your Estimate and Statement which sets out both your rights and obligations as the person paying the service charges and our rights and obligations as your landlord.
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.
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.
What should I do if I have a service on my statement that I don’t receive?
If you have concerns about service delivery, you should contact your Property Manager via our customer services team.
Caretaking and other staff costs
If you do not have a caretaker, these could be costs for a Scheme Officer, Concierge or Estate Guardians. 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.
What does a Hyde Management fee cover?
Management fees generally cover overheads and administrative costs such as processing and billing.
Why am I being charged both a managing agent fee and a Hyde management fee?
Managing agent fees are the costs for having a managing agent oversee your services. Hyde management fees cover overheads and administrative costs such as dealing with billing and producing Estimates and Statements.
I bought my property this year – why do I have to pay for last year?
Charges pass to the purchaser. This would have been set out in the details of your purchase and should have been explained by your solicitor.
- I want to see a copy of the Buildings Insurance
What happens if I overpay or underpay?
If you are a tenant and there is an over or under payment, this amount is used when calculating the following years’ service charges. So, any over or underpayment from the recent statements for 2019/20 will be used to calculate the estimates for 2021/22. If there is an overpayment (surplus) the overall service charge will be reduced, and if there is an underpayment the overall service charge will be increased.
If you are a homeowner any over or underpayment amount will be applied as a credit or debit adjustment to your account. Where there is an underpayment (deficit) you will need to make a payment to your account to clear this amount within 30 days of receiving the statement. If you need to spread the cost of the payments, please contact the Income Team to reach an agreement.
Why has the cost of my building insurance gone up?
The cost of buildings insurance has increased nationwide over the last year and is affecting the whole market. Insurers are having to push up their premiums due to a number of factors, including:
- the impact of the coronavirus pandemic
- a reduction in insurer capacity which means it’s been harder and more expensive to source insurance
- increased risks associated with areas like building safety
Why have you charged me for window cleaning, you don’t clean my property windows?
Our window cleaning contract covers the cleaning of the door and window glass within the communal areas of a building.
Why have you charged me for emptying bins, the council empty these?
This charge covers the removal of bulk items of waste from bin stores or communal areas of your building or estate. This can include bin hire, the actual cleaning of the bins (as opposed to emptying them), and the removal of bulk items of waste from bin stores or communal areas.