Paying rent and service charges - leaseholders
As a leaseholder, owning 100% of your property, your lease may require you to pay ground rent. In some cases this will be paid annually or monthly with your service charges. You will be informed of the monthly rent that you need to pay in advance if appropriate.
Service charges are your share of the cost of managing, providing services and carrying out repairs to the communal parts of your block or scheme. As with ground rent, some are charged annually and some are charged monthly. Please refer to your lease agreement to clarify how you are required to pay.
Your ground rent
Your lease will set out the basis of assessment of the rent and the method by which any future increases will be calculated.
Payment of rent is a condition of your lease and if you do not pay the amount due you will have to pay late payment fees or interest charges. If you continually fail to pay the rent, then we may decide to apply for possession or forfeiture. This is a very serious step and will result in you losing your home including any equity/deposit that you put into the property.
Paying and viewing your ground rent
If you pay your service charge every month your ground rent will be collected within this direct debit.
Your ground rent is due on the date specified in your lease. You can view your rent account and all transactions at any time by logging in to your account on our website.
We send out printed rent statements four times a year in January, April, July and October.
Paying by direct debit
The easiest way for you to pay your rent is by Direct Debit. You can set up a Direct Debit over the phone with your income officer. Once it has been set up, your rent will be automatically paid from your bank account without you having to do anything. Your rent account will be credited on the same day that the payment leaves your bank account.
Direct Debits are easy to manage as you do not have to tell your bank if amounts go up. They can also help you to budget your expenses.
If you start to pay your rent by direct debit and pay for a minimum of three consecutive months, we will automatically enter you into a quarterly draw to win £250.
If you pay your ground rent annually we recommend that you set up a standing order to pay this at the correct time.
Other ways to pay
You can also pay your rent:
- online at www.allpayments.net www.allpayments.net
- at a PayPoint or Payzone store using an Octavia swipe card with cash or a credit card
- by debit or credit card over the phone – call your income officer or our customer contact team
- by text - register online in the mobile payments section of www.allpayments.net
- by standing order – contact our customer contact team for a form which you will need to give to your bank
- by housing benefit – if you are entitled to Housing Benefit then you may be able to claim for ground rent as well.
- by cheque – write your address and tenancy number on the back of the cheque and post it to us.
Paying your service charge
Your lease will determine the way you are billed for your service charges. There are two types of billing, either annually in arrears or by instalments on account.
We collect service charges in line with the clauses laid out in your lease.
If you pay annually in arrears you will receive one demand and statement of expenditure. This is due for payment within 28 days, if you do not pay within this time then we will charge you a late payment fee. The demand is usually sent out before the end of September each year.
If you pay monthly we will collect an estimated amount each month. At the start of the financial year we do not know what repairs will be needed or costs will be incurred in your building or estate. For this reason, we include an estimate of your service charge to help with the cost of possible repairs and regular contracts (for example for cleaning the shared areas). For most of our leases, we send out an estimate of costs in February as our financial year runs from April to March.
Once the financial year has ended we will work out how much we actually spent providing services to your property and to the estate in the previous financial year and send you details of the charges. If the amount is higher than the estimate we sent to you, you must pay the difference within 28 days. If the amount is lower, a credit will be put on your account. If you do not owe us other money we will refund this credit on request.
You have the right to inspect the costs included in the service-charge accounts. We will usually arrange for access at our head office. We may charge you if you want to make a copy of any invoices. You will need to contact your income officer to make an appointment.
Difficulties with rent or service charge payment
If you are having difficulties paying your rent or service charge please contact the home ownership team or seek independent advice from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB). Find out more about our money and debt advice services here.
It is always better to tell us in advance if you have any problems as we can direct you to specialist advisers or in special circumstances come to an agreement on a future repayment.