If you’re one of our shared ownership, leaseholder or freeholder customers, you’ll have recently received your end of year service charge statement. Below, we answer some of your frequently asked questions about this statement and your service charges.
End of year service charges
Shared ownership, leaseholder or freeholder customers pay a variable service charge for the services you receive, which relate to the communal areas and the maintenance of your estate or block.
Each financial year (for most customers this is from April to the following March), we set an estimate of what we think these costs will be. And at the end of the financial year, we review the actual costs against the estimate, and we produce an end of year statement. This is produced within 6 months of the end of the financial year, so most customers receive this by the end of September each year.
We’ve recently finalised the April 2019 to end March 2020 accounts and you should have received your letter which shows the estimated charges against the actual charges.
The statement summarises charges for specific services, which result in either a credit or a deficit against the estimate. The credit or deficits for each service are totalled up and then a balancing charge will be applied to the service charge account.
If a deficit balancing charge is applied, we’ll expect to have the balance repaid by the end of the current financial year (March 2021). If you pay by Direct Debit you’ll receive a separate letter confirming what your payment has been adjusted to and when the new payment will commence. If you pay by any other method, then you can pay the balance off in full or adjust your payments to clear by the end of March 2021.
If a credit balancing charge is applied and the service charge account shows a credit balance, we’ll automatically refund you via your Direct Debit bank account or cheque by the end of October. If you don’t pay by Direct Debit but would like the refund to a specific bank account, please call us with your bank details. Your refund may be different to the amount quoted on your end of year statement because we’ll only refund any credit amount on your service charge account. For example, if we apply a £350 credit to your service charge account, but you had an outstanding balance of £100 then you will only receive a refund for £250.
Services affected by coronavirus
We’re currently looking at how we can refund customers for any missed cleaning visits in April and May when we had to divert some staff to clean our Older Persons’ schemes (please note this happened in this financial year, so this won’t be reflected in your letter which outline services for last year). We’re considering the options and the best way forward, but we’ll wait until we’re sure that there isn’t going to be a second coronavirus peak that may impact on our services again before confirming any details. We’ll keep you informed.
Your frequently asked questions answered!
Why did I get a letter/statement?
You received the letter because it’s a legal requirement of the lease.
I don’t pay by Direct Debit how else can I pay the amount due?
We have lots of different ways that you can pay – find out more on the 'paying my rent' page.
My account is in credit - can I have my money back?
If there’s credit on your account after the balancing charge has been applied, we’ll automatically arrange a refund. These should be completed by the end of October.
I can’t afford to pay the amount due.
If you’re worried about paying the amount due, please get in touch with your Income Officer so we can support you.
I just bought my property, why am I paying for last year when I wasn’t there?
The charge relates to the property not the person. Your solicitor should have made a provision for this and therefore you should contact them to discuss any concerns you have.
I’ve just purchased the property but received the letter addressed to the previous owner
The mailing list was up to date at the point of production, but if ownership has just changed hands it may have missed the cut off point. Please return the statement and we can re-send in the correct name.
My property was a new build and I only lived there for a few months of 2019/20, why am I paying for the whole year?
They’re not, the charges are only for a proportion of the year.
What repairs have been completed on my property?
Please contact us, and your Neighbourhood Officer who can provide a repairs report to show a breakdown of all works and costs completed in the financial year.
The figures on the statement don’t add up
Please contact us and our Finance team can investigate.
I’m don’t want to pay because I don’t receive the service
Please contact us and your Neighbourhood Officer will confirm any details or investigate further if required.