Understanding your service charge and ground rent
Where you live in a block or a part of a wider estate, you are required to pay your share of the cost to Thrive for managing and maintaining the common areas and shared services.
We will provide an estimated cost in advance of the 1st of April each year, which will include the expected costs of services to the common areas for the coming year. This charge should be paid in line with your lease, which is normally annually, quarterly, or in some cases monthly.
We use many different sources of information to calculate what your estimated charges should be including assessing what it has cost to run and maintain your block or estate in previous years. These costs are additionally impacted by external factors such as trends in gas and electricity supplies, government inflation and usual contractual uplifts. To continue to supply your services at the same level, these costs have to change to reflect the changes in the economic environment impacting us and our contractors.
At the end of each Financial Year, we will accumulate all invoices and calculate the actual cost for providing services in that year. You will receive an ‘Actuals Statement’ around the end of September, which will confirm the actual cost. We will apply a credit (if we overestimated what would be spent) or a debit (if we underestimated what would be spent). If this is a debit, then you will need to pay the balancing amount within 28 days as advised on the invoice.
As a not-for-profit organisation we are committed to providing all our customers with the best value for money and only work with contractors sharing the same ethos.
Common services that might be included in your service charge are:
- Grounds maintenance, general grounds and garden maintenance, and tree surgery works.
- Cleaning of communal areas and the removal of bulk rubbish and contaminated waste (where people put non-recyclables in the recycling bin).
- Buildings insurance the provision of insurance to the structure of the building and specific parts which are the Landlord’s responsibility to maintain.
- Management fee for managing the responsibilities of the Lease including company overheads, execution of the service charge accounts, and for staff handling general enquiries.
- Audit fee the examination of the service charge accounts by an external auditor before they are sent to you.
- Entryphone system, the cost of running the contract, call-out fees and any repairs carried out.
- Aerial call outs and repairs.
- Pest control if needed in common areas only.
- Repairs, day to day repairs that are carried out to the block throughout the year. The cost of each individual repair in your service charges will be under £
- Lift, any inspections, repairs, and maintenance to ensure the lift is in safe and working order.
- Communal electricity supply to the internal and external common areas.
- Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) carried out every 3 years (with some yearly) to ensure communal areas meet fire and safety regulations by assessing any potential risks in place and any safety works required.
- Third-party management company charges, where a third-party company also provides all or some services to the block or estate.
Please note: the works and services listed are not exhaustive and you may pay other charges depending on the layout and services that are particular to your block or estate.
Full details of our expectations in communal areas are laid out in our Communal Area Standards.
This is what you pay by having a lease in our building and the amount is always set out in your lease. We do not link our ground rent to property value so that you can be consistent in your budget setting and confident in the saleability of your home. We will send you a notice called a “Demand” as a part of your service charge estimates. The format of the Demand notice is laid out by law and you do not have to pay until you receive this notice.
We work to give you as much notice of works and services that are required and supply the most accurate estimate that we can.
The easiest way to arrange for payment for your service charges is to set up a Direct Debit. We can set these in line with your lease payment dates. If you need to change your Direct Debit dates, please contact us and we will arrange this for you. We will always inform you of any changes that are to happen to your Direct Debit before any payments are taken. If you would like to cancel your Direct Debit, you can do this any time by contacting your bank or building society. If you would like a Direct Debit form, please contact us.
You can make easy payments to your service charge account at any time through the myThrive Hub [link to payment page] on our website. You will need your rent reference number which can be found on any of your service charge statements.
Please note; we do not accept cash or cheques.
It is important to pay your service charges when they are due or you risk losing your home. We understand it is not unusual to experience financial difficulties from time to time. If you are experiencing difficulties, you should contact us as soon as possible. From here we will do our best to find a way to make payment easier for you and offer our expertise and advice. If you cannot keep to an agreement that you have already made, you should always contact us straight away, even if it is only one payment. If we do not hear from you, we have no option but to consider formal proceedings to recover the money owed. We will keep you updated of the actions that we are taking.
Service charge arrears are a breach of your mortgage agreement and we have an obligation to inform your mortgage provider of any breach. Sometimes, your lender may agree to pay your arrears directly and add this debt to your mortgage, which means that you will pay interest on this.
If you dispute a charge?
If you dispute a charge you should contact us to provide us with your evidence so that we can investigate for you.
You don’t have a right to withhold payment of charges on your account however, we endeavour to work with you to provide you with a prompt response in order to resolve your query.
If you do not agree with our decision, then you have a right to make an application to the First-Tier Tribunal (FTT) in order to have an independent panel decide on your query. We would always suggest that you seek independent advice for the best route forward to the FTT.