We believe you should enjoy your home, safe in the knowledge the money you pay on maintenance and the upkeep of your property is being well spent.
Service Charges and management fees fund the costs of maintaining the development and keeping everything in good order and to a standard you expect.
What is the Service Charge?
Your Service Charge is the money you pay towards the day-to-day running costs of your development. Every resident pays a Service Charge and the money is used to cover items such as:
- Buildings insurance
- Communal facilities
The Service Charge would also cover the costs of any onsite staff. In residential developments this could be a caretaker or concierge; for large, complex estates, this could include a Development Manager and a team of concierges, cleaners and handypersons. In independent retirement living developments this would normally be your Development or House Manager.
What is the Service Charge based on?
The Service Charge is based on an estimated budget we prepare each year of all the running costs relating to the communal areas of your development. These could include a number of elements. Some of the most common are:
- Landscape maintenance – such as cutting the grass, maintaining communal gardens, watering and sweeping.
- Lighting, heating and cleaning of communal internal areas.
- Window cleaning – specific to each development, but would typically include all external windows as well as internal windows in communal areas.
- Lift maintenance.
- Fire equipment maintenance.
- Water Sampling (legionella testing)
- Other electrical and mechanical equipment maintenance – specific to each development, but this could include items such as water pumps, electrically powered entry or security gates, communal heating boilers etc.
- General repairs and maintenance.
- Salaries of any onsite staff that are employed specifically to work for the development.
- Buildings insurance – in the case of apartments, full buildings insurance is required under the terms of the lease to cover the risks relevant to the development. Standard insurance risks might include fire, explosion, lightning, aircraft, terrorism, storm or flood, sprinkler leakage, subsidence or landslide etc.
When is the Service Charge paid?
This depends on your lease or transfer in England or Wales, or your Deed of Conditions in Scotland.
You may be required to pay your Service Charge once a year, twice a year (usually every six months) or occasionally in monthly instalments.
If you aren’t sure when you should pay your Service Charge, refer to your lease or contact your Property Manager.
How do I pay my Service Charge?
The quickest and most effective way to pay your Service Charge is via Bank Transfer.
Register and login to PrimeHub, our secure residents’ portal, where you can view your statement of account and up to date balance.
When submitting a payment, please use your unique property reference and the bank details provided to you on the demand (middle section).
What happens if I withhold a payment?
We understand that sometimes legitimate disputes may arise with regards to paying your Service Charge. If this happens and you are unhappy please contact us immediately to discuss any issues.
However, as your managing agents, we have an obligation to collect the Service Charge money as per the terms of your lease. Should you not advise us of any dispute, or if we feel your dispute is not legitimate, we will take action to recover any outstanding balance. This action ranges from reminder letters, to court action.
We take this action to ensure that your development has the necessary funding to provide a seamless service.
How do you work out the annual Service Charge budget?
For newly built developments, the Service Charge is based on estimated calculated costs. We make every attempt to make sure the budget is accurate based on experience.
For established residential buildings, developments and estates, the previous year’s costs are used as a guide to prepare the estimated costs for the coming year.
We have no control over charges such as VAT, so we can only anticipate what this is likely to be. For utility costs such as electricity, we endeavour to negotiate competitive rates that are lower than normal domestic tariffs. Our aim is to ensure all utility charges remain as low as possible.
We prepare a budget based on the estimated Service Charges for the next financial year a few months before it starts.
Any questions on the budget can be put to us and answered.
Annual Service Charge accounts
How do I know how my Service Charge has been spent?
Following the end of the development’s financial year the annual accounts are prepared and then audited by an independent firm of accountants (if stated in the lease). A summary of expenditure is sent to every owner and the accounts will be fully explained.
There is often an adjustment to the Service Charge after the year end as it is unlikely that our estimate will equal the exact amount spent during the year.
This adjustment can be a credit if we over estimate or a debit if we under estimate. If we under estimate; an invoice will be sent to you for the balance. If we over estimate, the adjustment will be credited to your account.