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Your Guide to Service Charges

Your Guide to Service Charges

guide-to-service-charges
Service charges are one of the principal areas for dispute, usually due to lack of knowledge as to how service charges actually work. In todays blog post, we will be exploring what service charges are and their significance.

So, what exactly is a Service Charge?

Service charges are levied to recover the costs they incur in providing services to a block or estate. The way in which individual service charges are organised is set out in individual tenancy agreements. The charges cover the cost of general maintenance and repairs, insurance of the building and, where the services are provided, lifts, lighting and cleaning and maintenance of communal areas etc.

Why do I have to pay these charges and what will happen if I don’t?

You have to pay service charges because it is in the terms of your lease and is legally binding. Therefore, if you do not pay, it will end in legal action being taken against you. As trustees of the service charge fund, we are also legally bound to ensure that those who should pay, pay their service charge. It is also crucial for us as your Managing Agent that service charges are paid on time, to ensure that sufficient funds are available to continue the services we provide.

How often do you collect service charges?

Service charges are collected in line with covenants of your lease (so can vary slightly from client to client) but in every case, we use a step-by-step process to request and chase any outstanding payments.

When do you issue service charge accounts?

We typically issue service charge accounts between 3-6 months after the year-end. Occasionally this can take longer (for example, if we took over as your managing agent part-way through the financial year and are waiting on information from the previous managing agent). If this is the case, you will be issued a s20b notice (in line with the Leasehold and Tenancy Act) This notice will advise of any delays, list expenditures to date and set a final deadline by which final accounts will be ready.

I want to ask a question about service charges. Who should I contact?

We are pleased to provide you with the right information about your service charges. This will include information about how the service charges have been calculated, if there are any variances from the previous year (along with an explanation) and exactly how the money you pay has been spent.

 

For further information, please call our team on 01603 226500 or email: management@watsons-property.co.uk

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