Your service charge is set at a level to cover any expenses and services that we provide in accordance with the terms of your lease or deeds.
This can include buildings insurance, repairs and maintenance of communal areas, cleaning, grounds maintenance, communal electricity etc. We charge a management fee to cover our costs in managing these services.
If your service charges are set based on a budgeted figure for the financial year outlined in your lease, then we will also provide accounts within 6 months of your financial year-end, ie, if your lease stipulates that the financial year runs to 31st March, then the accounts will be issued to you before 30th September.
These accounts will outline all of the income and expenditure incurred in that financial year for your scheme and reconcile any over or under collection which may be due.
You can read our Service Charge Policy here.
What is a ‘reserve fund’, ‘sinking fund’ or ‘cyclical fund’?
Some leases allow us to collect a proportion of your service charge to allow for future maintenance and repair responsibilities outlined in your lease. This contribution would be held in a fund which can be referred to as a ‘reserve fund’, ‘sinking fund’ or ‘cyclical fund’.
These funds would then be used to assist with future costs for major works such as communal roof replacements etc which may be covered under the terms of your lease. Some of our leases also require a contribution towards these funds on resale of the property. Please refer to your lease for details.
Do you provide buildings insurance?
Usually your lease will specify that we provide the buildings insurance. If this is stipulated within your lease and you need to make a claim against the policy, please download a copy of the current insurance policy summary which also includes the contact details and policy number for you to make your claim directly with the policy provider.
Why does my service charge change every year?
Each year we assess how much we expect to spend on providing the services to your home. This is based on an estimate of costs and will include inflation. We also regularly review our service costs to ensure that they deliver value for money and that charges remain as accurate as possible. As a result, charges can vary each year. Where this results in an increase, we will ensure that any increase is reasonable.
What’s on my service charge statement?
You will see your services listed and a cost against each service dependent upon the frequency you are set up to pay – monthly/ quarterly/annually.
How does Together Housing calculate estimated costs?
Estimated service charge costs are those costs that we are forecasting for the year April 2021 to March 2022. For services like utilities (gas and electric) we will base our estimates on the actual price we have been paying for recent years.
How does Together Housing know what to charge for estate costs like cleaning services and grounds maintenance?
If the service is provided by our in-house staff, we will know how much this costs to deliver because we pay the wages, the vehicle costs, the materials and this budget is set each year. If the service is provided by an external contractor, they give us set costs for the period of the contract, usually increasing annually in line with inflation.
Are my services different this year?
No, the services you receive have not changed. However, we’ve changed some of the headings and provided a short description of charges, so we are clearer about the services you receive.
What is the administration charge for?
This is what it costs us to manage and administer service charges, doing things like tendering for works, managing contracts, paying invoices, dealing with customer queries and preparing the statements about the services you receive.
Why does my service charge statement mention a landlord subsidy and what is this?
We want to make sure our charges are affordable and that any increases are reasonable. For this reason, we’ve put a cap on the total amount of increase any resident will have to pay. A ‘landlord subsidy’ is where Together Housing is paying some of your service charge costs so that the full increases are not all passed on to you straightaway. If the service charge is higher than the cap we have set, Together Housing will subsidise the remainder of the charge, so you continue to receive the full services. If this applies to you it will be shown on your statement as a ‘landlord subsidy’.
Why do you review service charges every year?
If your service charges are set based on a budgeted figure for the financial year outlined in your lease, then we will also provide accounts within 6 months of your financial year-end, i.e. if your lease stipulates that the financial year runs to 31st March, then the accounts will be issued to you before 30th September. These accounts will outline all the income and expenditure incurred in that financial year for your scheme and reconcile any over or under collection which may be due.
How do I query items on my service charge?
Please contact our Customer Service team to discuss the query. If our team can’t answer your enquiry they will pass onto the appropriate person and get back to you within working 10 days.