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Service Charges

Please Note: If you are a home owner, a resident in an almshouse, or a tenant on a 6 months Assured Shorthold Tenancy who has paid a deposit, this policy/ section may not apply to you.

In addition to the basic rent, many tenants also have to pay a service charge. Service charges pay for a range of communal services provided at NCHA schemes and estates. NCHA are committed to maintaining our estates and schemes to a high standard through the provision of high quality and cost effective communal services so that they are attractive and pleasant places to live.

Full information on service charges for 2017 can be found on the service charge information sheet

Grounds maintenance of communal gardens and open areas.Caretaking, including cleaning and monitoring of health and safety in internal / external communal areas.Most caretaking services are provided by NCHA's own Scheme Managers, and include the following:

  • Window cleaning for flats schemes. 
  • Removal of litter and dumped rubbish. 
  • Servicing of fire alarm and emergency lighting systems to meet fire safety regulations. 
  • Servicing of lifts and electric entry gates to meet health and safety regulations. 
  • Servicing of communal water treatment and drainage systems to meet environmental regulations. 
  • Monitoring and maintenance of CCTV. 
On-going communal running costs such as electricity for communal lighting are also paid for through service charges.

Capital costs of communal equipment - The cost of providing and replacing items of communal equipment including communal floor coverings, fire alarm, ventilation and emergency lighting systems, door entry and security systems, lifts, drainage and water treatment systems are also recovered through the service charge over the expected life of the equipment until the original purchase cost has been recovered.

The cost of the scheme manager service is calculated to an hourly rate and includes the cost of travelling to and from schemes.
Other essential services such as repairs to communal areas, the removal of graffiti, undertaking communal repairs and the removal of dumped cars are provided by Estates Services and Maintenance staff and are not paid for through service charges.
The frequency of communal service provision varies according to the service provided, the time of the year and the needs of the estate or scheme.
This means that some schemes are cleaned on a weekly basis, whilst others are cleaned fortnightly or 4 weekly.
Grounds maintenance contracts reflect the work required on each site at different times of the year.

For example, sites with grassed areas are visited more often in the spring and early summer and less often in the later summer when the grass is growing more slowly. Schemes receive few grounds maintenance visits in the winter when there is less work to do.
NCHA calculate services charges for the new financial year using a combination of the known costs of contracts, such as caretakers, cleaning and grounds maintenance, budgets based on costs that have been incurred in the last full financial year, such as communal electricity and the cost of removing rubbish and the cost of replacing large items such as lifts, floor coverings, fire alarms and emergency lighting.
Where NCHA has underspent the budget for the last full financial year, the surplus is refunded to you as a reduced service charge. Where more has been spent than planned, NCHA will recover the amount by increasing the service charge for the financial year.The costs, including under and over spends are shown on the Service Charge Statement for each scheme. An example with detailed explanation of the costs and totals can be found here.
NCHA is constantly trying to achieve value for money for communal services and has a timetable for retendering services provided by contractors.
NCHA also works hard to ensure that NCHA's own caretaking services represent value for money and is constantly reviewing the services provided to ensure that estates are maintained to a high standard and that the cost of service charges are competitive and represent value for money.
Service charges are normally reviewed on an annual basis and included in the April rent increase unless the services provided are changed part way through the financial year. Full details of service charges for each scheme are provided on the Service Charge Statement and Service Provision sheets. The Estate Services Standards also give details of the common standards for estate services.