What are service charges?
Service charges are an amount that tenants pay to cover the cost of providing communal or shared services to a building and, if applicable, the surrounding estate.
How do we set service charges?
We look at what internal and external services are provided at each scheme. Residents are only billed for services which they benefit from.
What do we mean by fixed service charges?
The ‘fixed’ service charge system is used for setting service charges to tenants. An estimate is made each year of the cost of providing the services to a scheme and this cost is then split between the individual properties in the scheme. Once the charge has been set, any variation between the actual cost and the estimate is absorbed by Octavia Housing in the financial year.
How do we apportion charges?
Each property is allocated a point value based on the number of bedrooms and maximum occupancy of the property. We then use the point allocations for the scheme to apportion the costs.
How often will I recieve a service charge bill?
Every February, you can expect to receive your new rent and service charges booklet, which contains:
- Notification of your new rent including a section 13 notice (as required by the Housing Act 1988 for assured tenants)
- A breakdown of the services provided and your share of those costs
- Details of what your service charges pay for
Why is my service charge demand different to my neighbour?
It is likely that your estate is made up of various tenure types, each tenure type gets billed in a different way. Service Charges are generally apportioned by a points system, not every property will have the same points allocation therefore there will be variation in costs being charged.
What is a management fee?
Once the scheme service charges are apportioned, a management fee is added.
For fixed service charges a 15% management fee is added.
In some schemes where Octavia does not own the freehold to the property you are renting from us, certain services can be provided by a separate managing agent.
The managing agent charges Octavia for the costs of providing these services. Where this occurs, we will recharge you and other residents for these costs using the same apportionment principles as set out above.
How can I contact someone if I have questions about my service charges?
Please contact your Income Officer if you would like more information about your service charges.
If you are experiencing affordability problems with paying your rent and/or service charges, we can help. Contact us if you feel you could benefit from some help and advice.
We can also refer you to or tell you about agencies that can provide free independent advice.