Here you'll find the latest updates and information about the service charge estimates and what they mean to you.
What is a service charge?
A service charge is your share towards the cost of arranging and carrying out services and maintenance to your building and/or estate for items including:
- buildings insurance
- maintenance and repairs
- cleaning & grounds maintenance
- fire safety services
- other facilities such as door entry systems
- and any management
The service charge cycle runs each financial year from the 1 April to 31 of March.
Your lease will outline how your service charges are paid. Most of our customers are variable service charge payers. This means you pay the cost for the services that are carried out to your block or estate only, instead of paying a fixed price which could be higher or lower than the actual cost.
We’ve put together a short video explaining the process. You can view it at thrivehomes.org.uk/servicecharges
How must I pay my estimated charges?
Your estimates letter will show your charges for the full financial year. This must be paid in line with the instalments detailed in your lease. For example, if your lease specifies that you must pay monthly, quarterly, or annually, you must pay this in 12, 4 or 1 instalment(s), respectively.
How do you estimate and bill my service charges?
Each February, you’ll receive a letter detailing what we estimate your service charges to be for the coming year. This is calculated based on what it has cost to run and maintain your block or estate in previous years as well as any contractual uplifts and inflation.
On the 1 April each year, you will start paying your new estimated service charge amount until the end of the service cycle on the 31 March.
Variable service charge payers
Once the service charge period ends on 31 March, we will write to you in the following September with your actuals statement. This will detail the actual cost for services received in the previous financial year.
We will credit your account if we have overestimated the cost of the services. If we have underestimated the costs, you will need to pay the outstanding balance within 28 days as advised on the invoice.
For Fixed Service Charge Payers
We will estimate your charges in the same way each year. As you pay a fixed rate, there will be no refunds or additional charges requested at the end of the financial year.
Is there any update with the communal electric and/or gas costs for my block?
We always look for the best deals from different energy suppliers. This year, we are happy to share that we have found a cheaper deal that lowers the price of electricity by 40% and gas by 20% per unit.
All blocks have meters that measure how much energy is used. The energy companies charge us based on the meters, and we charge you through your service charge. Even though we have found a cheaper price per unit, your cost may not go down if your building uses a lot of communal energy. So, please let us know if you see any problems (like lights that are on when they should not be) so we can save energy and money where possible.
Why has my charge for building insurance gone up?
Insurance products in the UK rose by around 25% last year and is expected to rise by another 10% in the first part of 2024.
We always seek to get the best rates for our customers and have recently renewed our building insurance policy before further increases are expected at 30% this year.
When will tree works next be carried out at my estate?
As you may be aware, we are required to carry out routine and essential tree work for safety and maintenance purposes. These works are not needed every year and so you will only pay for works carried out in the year they're carried out. Our contractor has undertaken surveys and indicated where works will be needed in the coming year 2024-25. If this work is planned on your estate, estimates will be calculated in the letter you'll receive in February 2024.
What if I have difficulty making payments?
If you need it, we’ve got support on hand to help you manage your money. From advice on budgeting and benefits to support services you can contact for your wellbeing – simply head to: thrivehomes.org.uk/money-energy-help or speak to us confidentially on 0800 917 6077.
Please contact us immediately if you are having difficulty managing your payments or need additional support, and we will do all we can to help.
Where can I find out more information to do with my lease?
We have produced the Thrive Deal, which sets out what you can expect from us as your landlord (our ‘offer’) and what we expect from you as our customer (our ‘ask’). It’s available online and can help you understand your service charges and rent (if applicable) at: thrivehomes.org.uk/thrivedeal or contact us for a printed copy.