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 will either be added your account immediately or will be carried forward to your service charge budget for the next year. This is determined by the terms of your lease or tenancy agreement.
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 or tenancy agreement. 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
- TV aerial (if there is a communal system)
- Sinking fund (if you are a leaseholder and your lease allows for this).
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.
Your new year charges letter and statements will have a detailed breakdown of the various services we are charging you for. If you have access to MyAster you will be able to download copies of these letters there. If not then please email the service charge team on firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be able to provide you with a copy or phone our contact centre on 0333 400 8222.
Yes, the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 gives leaseholders and tenants 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 charge team on Servicecharges@aster.co.uk or call our contact centre on 0333 400 8222.
The type of property you live does not effect this – 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. Check out our grounds maintenance page where you can find the grounds maintenance map which will confirm the areas we are maintaining.
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 an estate 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 or a separate conveyance agreement for your property outlining that you have to pay a service charge if this is the case. If you don’t have a copy of this then you can download this information from the land registry website: HM Land Registry - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
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.
We have several properties that are not connected to mains drainage and are instead connected to a sewerage treatment plant or septic plant. These properties are often in rural settings. The wastewater system you are connected to is own by Aster and it is therefore our responsibility to ensure it is running efficiently and is compliant with any regulations set out by the environment agency.
The title deeds or conveyance agreement for your property will outline you requirement to pay a service charge for the maintenance of the wastewater system. If you don’t have a copy of this then you can download this information from the land registry website: HM Land Registry - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
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.