Your Service Charge Actuals Explained
Residents / / Posted on 2019-09-24 00:00:00 by kimderry
Mount Green has two types of service charges; Fixed and Actuals. If you are on a variable service charge you will receive (if you haven’t already) an actuals statement over the coming weeks.
In April each year, Mount Green estimates how much we will spend on services for where you live. This is based on the previous three years actuals.
Services charges are the cost of providing and maintaining services to your scheme and surrounding communal areas. You are required to contribute towards these costs under the terms of your lease, transfer agreement or tenancy.
The services provided vary according to where you live and the type of property you own; these are explained below. Please note, if there is no charge on your statement for a service, then it has not been provided.
External managing agents – Some of our properties are located within buildings or estates that are not owned or managed by Mount Green Housing Association (MGHA). These properties are managed by third party companies that we call Managing Agents. MGHA will be required to pay a service charge to the Managing Agent and these costs are passed onto residents in line with the terms of your lease. Some EMAs provide all block and estate services, others only provide some.
Electricity and light bulbs – the electricity supply to communal areas, internal and external, and for replacement light bulbs.
Bulk refuse collection –collection and disposal of bulky waste that local Councils do not collect with the regular household refuse collection.
Window cleaning - the regular cleaning of windows in communal areas. In 2018/19 the cost is included in the cleaning contract.
Cleaning contract – cleaning of external and internal communal areas.
Grounds maintenance – maintaining the communal grounds, includes grass-cutting, weed removal, shrub pruning as required.
Tree maintenance – pruning or removal of trees.
Lift expenses – regular servicing and repairs to lifts, the provision of lift phone lines.
BSM (Building Services Maintenance) health & safety - services required to comply with Health and Safety regulations. This includes testing and maintenance of fire safety equipment, communal water supplies, emergency lighting and the electrical supply. Also includes Fire Risk Assessments of the communal areas.
BSM services - for the maintenance and repair of door entry and communal aerials.
Estate services – this includes communal drainage, grit and salt supplies, signage, gutter clearance, pest control, cleansing refuse bins, play equipment inspections, as required.
Communal water rates – water supply to communal areas.
Communal repairs – responsive repairs to internal and communal areas.
Administration/management fee – Staff time and associated overheads for overseeing the provision of services, management of blocks and estates, payment of suppliers, preparation of the estimate and actual charges and income collection.
Leaseholders and Shared Owners Only
Building insurance – MGHA arranges building insurance for your property (unless this is in the External Managing Agents charges or you own the freehold).
Audit fee – For the independent review of the service charge accounts by an external auditor.
- Tenants and leaseholders/shared owners pay the same for each service, but there are differences between which services they can be charged for.
- Tenants do not get charged for building insurance, audit fee, communal repairs, sinking funds, as these are all covered by their rent.
- Leaseholders/shared owners are not charged for Independent Living Officers, laundry equipment or communal heating as there are not any Independent Living leaseholders or shared owners in those schemes.
- As we cannot predict the future, sometimes there will be variances and what we estimated was not enough to cover what we spent. This is known as a deficit. It could be due to extra maintenance being required or something needed replacing that wasn’t expected.
- On the flip side, sometimes we don’t spend as much as estimated and this results in a surplus.
- Tenants do not have to change their payments as the surplus/deficit is carried forward into next year's service charge.
- Leaseholders/shared owners, under the terms of your lease or agreement, the adjustment to the 2018/19 service charge will be applied to your account immediately.
If there is a surplus, you will receive a credit on your account. You can request this back by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
If there is a deficit, this will be added to your account. This will be due immediately but can be spread across six months. Please contact us to discuss this on 01372 379555. Those paying by Direct Debit will automatically have the payments spread over six months.
Q: I don’t agree with what has been charged?
A: You are required to pay service charges under the terms of your lease or tenancy – if you believe that something is unreasonable or you shouldn’t have to pay, let us know what it is you disagree with and why, and we will investigate. If after investigation we agree with you, your service charge will be adjusted.
Q: Why did you not consult with residents about the works?
A: Consultation is only required when the cost of works is over £250 per property; if we carry out works over this amount and don’t consult the amount we can charge you is limited to £250.
Q: Can I get a further breakdown?
A: Yes - please tell us the specific service (e.g. communal repairs) that you want more detail for by email to email@example.com or call 01372 379555. It may take a few days to gather all the information for you.
Q: I bought the property this year why am I being charged for last years?
A: When you buy a property you take on responsibility for the service charge even though there may be costs relating to the time before your purchase. Usually your solicitor will have arranged for a retention to be held towards any deficit, and you should contact them to ask if that is the case. If there isn’t a retention, you will have to pay any shortfall.
Q: I cannot afford the amount that is due?
A: Please contact the Income team to discuss a payment arrangement.
Q: I pay by Direct Debit. Do I have to change the payment?
A: Your Direct Debit payment will be amended by Mount Green, and you will receive a letter confirming the new payment this month.
Q: I pay by standing order. Do I have to change the payment?
A: Yes. It is your responsibility to amend your standing order payment with your bank.
Q: I need to set up a regular monthly payment.
A: You can contact us on 01372 379555 to set up a Direct Debit. This takes just five minutes over the phone and you do not need to complete any paperwork.
For further advice and information, please click here.
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