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Rent and service charge FAQs

Download the rent and service charge leaflet.

What is a service charge?

Service charges are our costs in providing services at the block or estate where you live. For example, gardening or repairs in shared areas.

What does the service charge cover?

Service charges differ from estate to estate, depending on the services we provide. Please look at your personalised service charge account to see a full list of those services covered by your service charge.

For more information on what your service charge covers, please download our 'Service charges - what do they cover?' guide.

Do I have to pay a service charge?

If we provide a service to your block or estate you will have to pay us a service charge. This will be stated in your lease, tenancy agreement or title documents. Usually you will be required to pay your service charge in 12 equal payments on the first day of each month. Some leases state the service charge is payable quarterly or annually in advance, but if you would like to pay monthly this can be arranged by setting up a standing order or Direct Debit. Please contact us for more information.

Where can I view my balance and statement?

You can view your current balance and statement for any rent and service charge accounts you have with us on My Account.

My Account lets you access your A2Dominion account online, wherever and whenever you like.

If you’re new to My Account, you can register quickly and easily online. Anyone who is a named party on an A2Dominion lease or tenancy agreement can register for My Account. All you need is your name, email address, and Agreement Reference Number. Your Agreement Reference Number can be found on most written correspondence you’ve received from A2Dominion.

How is my share of the costs worked out?

Costs are set out under four headings:

  • Estate costs
  • Block costs
  • Property costs
  • Personal costs

You can find an explanation of each of these headings in our online guide: ‘Service charges - what do they cover?

Unless your lease says otherwise, Estate costs are divided by the number of properties that receive a service on the estate.

Similarly Block costs are divided between the numbers of properties in a particular building, unless specified in your lease. For example, your lease may state that you are responsible for a specific percentage of the costs instead.

There are some costs that we charge to all properties equally, which all fall under the heading of Property costs :

  • Management charge
  • Buildings insurance
  • Examination costs

If we do not manage your estate or block, or there are other areas that are managed by another agent, then the cost for the services they provide to those areas will appear as ‘Property costs’. In some estates and blocks we provide services which are personal to a particular flat, these services will usually be things like heat, hot water or mains water. Where the lease provides for these services to be collected as part of the service charge, they will appear as
Personal costs.

Please note, if we have established another way to charge you for personal costs, such as by sending you a bill based on a meter reading, the cost may not appear in either your estimate or account.

Personal costs are not usually eligible for housing benefit.

What is an estimated service charge?

If you pay a service charge, every February we will send you an estimate of how much your service charge will be for the next financial year. This is our forecast of how much we think it will cost us to provide the services during the year, from April to March.

How can I get a printed copy of my rent statement?

You can print a copy of your latest statement using My Account.

  1. Sign in to My Account
  2. Go to Payment & Statements
  3. Click the Print Statement button at the bottom of the page

If you need to request a printed rent or service charge statement from us, you can do so by calling our Customer Services Centre on 0800 432 0077.

What if there is a difference between the estimated and income and expenditure service charge?

At the end of each financial year we calculate how much it has actually cost us to provide the services to your estate. We then compare this figure with what we estimated.

If the estimate was higher than the actual charge we will credit your customer account with the balance. If the estimate was lower than the actual charges incurred we will debit your customer account with the difference. We will then either offer you a refund or ask you to pay the shortfall.

Download our guide to your Income & Expenditure account for more information about how we refund or collect these differences.

What do I do if I feel the service charge is too high?

If you would like to discuss a specific item on your statement, please contact our Customer Services Centre or complete our online service charge query form in My Account.

My customer account is in credit. Why have you not refunded me this money?

If you pay by Direct Debit please complete our online form to request a refund, the balance on your customer account will then be refunded to you. We will usually do this be reducing the amount we collect for your next Direct Debit payment by the amount your account is in credit. If the credit is bigger than a month’s charges we will make a payment for the credit and continue collecting charges as normal.

If you don't pay by Direct Debit, you must contact our Customer Services Centre so we can refund any credit to your account.

Why do I pay a service charge when I live in a house and do not receive any services from you?

Even if you live in a house, you may live near public open areas, such as parks and gardens, which are looked after by us and not by the council. If this is the case, nearby homes are required to pay towards its upkeep. There will be a clause in your title deeds that confirms you have to pay towards these costs.

Why do I have to pay a service charge if I am a freeholder?

Even if you live in a house and are a freeholder, you may live near public open spaces, such as parks and gardens, which are looked after by us and not by the council. If this is the case, nearby homes are required to pay towards its upkeep. There will be a clause in your title deeds that confirms you have to pay towards these costs.

What is the management fee for?

We charge a management fee to cover all the costs involved in managing our estates. This includes your share of general expenses such as:

  • Office staff wages and office expenses
  • The cost of billing and collecting service charges
  • Staff time in answering questions and dealing with general estate matters
  • Staff costs for the Leasehold Services Team, including Leasehold Property Managers
  • Other costs for those staff, including pensions costs
  • Organising contracts for services, such as cleaning and lift maintenance
  • Staff training costs
  • Computer systems and website costs
  • Telephone systems
  • Site visits
  • Newsletter and other publicity sent to leaseholders
Why am I paying more than my neighbour?

There are many different ways that the contribution you must make to the service charge are set. This may be based on floor area or the number of bedrooms you may have or some other method that was set some time ago. Once the contribution you must make is set in your lease this is the proportion of cost you must meet. However, it is possible that all flats on an estate or in a block will be playing the same service charges. Again this will usually be dictated by the lease.

Why have you sent me a bill if I receive housing benefit?

You are responsible for ensuring that any housing benefit due to you is paid. Therefore we send you the bill and it is your responsibility to tell the housing benefit department at your local council of the charges and any changes that need to be made.

I bought my home during the last financial year. Does this affect how my account balance is dealt with?

If you purchased your property from another leaseholder or shared owner within the year, the full amount of the balancing charge, whether a credit or debit will be applied to your customer account.

Your solicitor may have arranged for some of the purchase monies to be held back (known as retention) to meet any deficit that might arise, and you should contact them to see if that is the case.

If you purchased your property directly from A2Dominion as a new build, an apportioned amount of the balancing charge, whether a credit or debit will be applied to your customer account. We will have applied a ‘landlords contribution’ to the account for the time you did not live in the property and will apportion the balancing charge to reflect the number of days from when you bought your home.

Do leaseholders and shared owners subsidise the tenants?

No.

There are some service charges costs paid by leaseholders and shared owners that are not included in the service charge paid by tenants. The tenant’s share of these costs is included in their rent.

These differences are due to the requirements of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985, Section 11, which rules that landlords who let property on short agreements (rather than long leases) are responsible for specified repair and insurance costs. For example, tenants do not pay for repairs to the structure of their homes, or for cyclical decorations through their service charge.

You will only ever be required to pay your share of a service charge item. For example, if there are two leaseholders and eight tenants in a block of ten homes, you will always pay one tenth (subject to terms of your lease) of the total cost of any given service relating to your block.

You will never pay more simply because there are tenants in your block.

What do I do if I can’t afford to pay my service charge?

If you are struggling to pay your charges on time, you should contact us as soon as possible. We will always treat you with respect and give you confidential advice. We may also put you in touch with one of our Tenancy Sustainment Officers. They can help you to manage your money, and give you advice on avoiding debt and on how to claim any benefits you may be entitled to.

For more information, visit our payment help page or call us on 0800 432 0077 (Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5:30pm).

This page was printed from A2Dominion Web site at http://www.a2dominion.co.uk/