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Service charges

A service charge is a payment made to us by a customer to cover the cost of providing and maintaining services such as repairs, maintenance, improvements, insurance and management costs. 

The amount you pay can vary depending on how much it has or will cost us to provide these services, and customers’ individual charges will vary according to the services they receive. We are only able change your service charges once a year. 

Below is a list of frequently asked questions about service charges. A full list and explanation of what may be included in your service charges can be found in our Guide to Service Charges.

If you can’t find an answer to your question here, please contact the service charge team on 0333 400 8231. Alternatively, please fill in the form at the bottom of this page and a member of the team will come back to you.

A guide to service charges

No. Service charges differ from one area to another and can even differ between neighbours. The type of home you live in and the terms of your lease or tenancy agreement will determine what service charge you pay.

No. Service charges differ from one area to another and can even differ between neighbours. The type of home you live in and the terms of your lease or tenancy agreement will determine what service charge you pay.

Each year we will give you an estimate of what we think the cost will be for providing our services and this will be the amount that you will be charged. These estimates are calculated by the departments that provide your services, including our asset management and maintenance teams and independent living team. The service charge team set the estimated charges for communal utilities and third-party service charges.

At the end of the year, we calculate what was actually spent on the services paid for by your service charges. This may be higher or lower than we estimated. The difference between the estimated and the actual costs is then carried forward to your service charge budget for the next year.

If your lease does not allow us to do this, you will be asked to pay the difference if the cost was higher than estimated, or we will refund the difference if the actual amount was lower than estimated.

You will receive a service charge statement each year that will detail how the difference will be applied to your account.

Generally, we will charge you for each financial year – 1 April to 31 March – but this will be confirmed in your lease. We will let you know the estimated charge for the year ahead at least one month before the charge changes.

 

Your service charge may include the following:

  • Communal cleaning
  • Communal lighting
  • Communal water
  • Door entry system
  • Fire alarm system
  • Grounds maintenance
  • Insurance for the lift in your building (if you have one)
  • TV aerial (if there is a communal system)
  • Sinking fund.

A comprehensive list of what may be included in your service charges and an explanation of what each item is can be found in our Guide to Service Charges.

Sinking funds or ‘reserve funds’ are used to collect money to pay for major items that need to be replaced or maintained and are charged to leaseholders. Your lease will explain whether or not a sinking fund can be put in place and what it can be used for.

The sinking fund applies to the property and not to the owner. If you decide to sell your home any payments you have made will stay in the fund.

Yes – these can be supplied to customers on request, so please get in touch with the service charge team if you would like to receive a full breakdown by phoning our contact centre on 0333 400 8222.

Yes, all customer have the legal right to inspect accounts, receipts and other supporting evidence relating to the collection and administration of service charge accounts. This request can only be made at the end of the financial year and must be made within six months of you receiving your service charge statement. Please contact the service chage team on  Servicecharges@aster.co.uk or call our contact centre on 0333 400 8222.

 

The type of property you live in is irrelevant – if you live near a piece of communal land that we own and maintain, you may need to pay a service charge towards its upkeep.

There could be a variety of reasons – you and your neighbour could live in homes which are of different tenures (e.g. you may be a renting your home, while your neighbour could be a leaseholder). Also, the period your service charges are calculated over may be different – some customers pay over 48 weeks and some over 52, depending on the terms of their tenancy. If you do have any concerns, please contact the service charge team.

If we introduce a service charge, we need to give you a minimum of 30 days’ notice before we can start applying this charge. We may introduce service charges if we begin providing a new service, or if we are providing you with a service that you should have been charged for previously but have historically received for free.

In some instances, private owners may have to pay a service charge. You may be required to pay if you live close to land that we own and maintain. There should be a clause in the title deeds for your property outlining that you have to pay a service charge if this is the case.

Our Guide to service charges provides some information as to whether individual charges might be eligible to be covered by housing benefit. You can also obtain further information about eligible and ineligible charges from your local authority and the department of working pensions.

If you are having any difficulties paying the adjusted amount, please contact your local customer accounts team and they will be able to advise you on possible payment arrangements.

Contact our service charge team

If you have a question about service charges, call the Service Charge Team on 0333 4008231.

There are times of year when the Services Charge Team experience high volumes of calls and you may prefer to complete this form and a member of the team will come back to you.

If you are a leasehold customer and sub-let your property, please indicate this in the main body of the message.

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