Why do I have to pay service charges?
When you signed your lease you agreed to contribute to the “up keep and maintenance” of the development, which includes the block housing the apartment you have leased. Your contribution will allow the Management Company to keep the grounds and your block in a fair and reasonable condition and to operate other Management functions as set out in your lease.
Are Service Charges Payable each year?
Yes; Service Charges are payable as an interim Service Charge in each year, in advance on the usually on the quarter days which are 1st January 1st April 1st July and 1st October of each financial year.
Will I receive and invoice?
Yes; The Management Company will send you an interim invoice. This will cover the period usually 1st January to 31st December of the following financial year.
Will there be any other charges apart from Service Charge payments for which I may be liable?
In certain circumstances, a Management Company may apply additional charges for example, interest and administration charges to your account. Late payment charges and late payment interest may apply under the terms of your lease and so it is important that your Service Charge account is paid on the due date.
What happens if I wish to dispute my Service Charge Account or other charges applied by the Management Company?
You should first raise the issue with your Management Company or its Agents. You should do this in writing and set out the nature of your complaint. This will then be investigated and a response sent to you within 21 days. If you are unable to resolve any complaint then you will find attached to your invoice a “Summary of Rights and Obligations”. This will set out the procedure you must follow in the event you have a dispute, which remains un-resolved.
How do I pay my Service Charge Account?
Details of “How to Pay” will be attached to your invoice. We recommend that you set up a standing order with you bank to avoid late payment interest and other charges. You can also pay online. Just follow the information and instructions set out in the documents attached to your invoice and ensure your reference number is mentioned on all payments.
Can Service Charges increase and will I be responsible for any increase?
Yes; Service Charges are invoiced as an interim charge based on budgets prepared by your Management Company or any appointed Management Agents. They will aim to work within the budget calculations but there can be occasions where the budget exceeds the actual costs of expenditure and this may result in a “balancing charge” being invoiced to you as a final payment due under your lease.
What do the Service Charges cover?
In summary your service charge contributions will cover, amongst other things; external window cleaning, gardening, buildings insurance, and general maintenance of the common areas, grounds and the cost of managing the development.
What happens if I sell my property. Do I still have to pay Service Charges?
If you have paid your Service Charges your solicitor will apportion the payments you have made between you and the buyer prior to completion. The buyer will be responsible for the Service Charges from the date of completion but you may still have a liability for any charges due or to become due prior to completion i.e. there may be a balancing charge for prior years which may not have been not determined when you complete your sale.
Can I sub let the Apartment?
This depends on the terms of your lease. You need to check if your lease provides a “User Restriction Clause”. You may be prohibited from sub-letting if you have accepted such clause. If you are permitted to sub-let, you may be required to give notice to your Landlord and Management Company who may charge a nominal fee for registration and or consent to let provided this is within the terms of your lease. It is your responsible to ensure any tenant(s) entering into occupation are aware of the terms of your lease and they conform with these terms, in particular the requirement to occupy the premises and to avoid any acts of nuisance, annoyance or disruption to others living on the development or pets.
What can I do if I have a dispute against the Managing Agents?
All Managing Agents are legally required from the 1st October 2014 to be part of a redress scheme. If you have a complaint you must raise the complaint with the Managing Agents directly in writing. Your complaint will be investigated and a response sent to you within a reasonable time after you complaint has been received. If there is no response by the agent after 8 weeks you may refer you complaint to the Ombudsman to which you Managing Agent is a member. Details of the Ombundsman should appear on their correspondence.