Any one that lives in an RBH home that has services to maintain communal areas will be charged service charges. Legally they have to be reasonable and could be for cleaning of communal areas, concierges, caretakers, grounds maintenance, and any other running expenses to the block or neighbourhood.
Leaseholders also pay their share of the costs of managing and maintaining their block or neighbourhood.
You will only be charged if your home benefits from that service. For a full breakdown of your service charges please refer to your tenancy agreement.
We aim to:
- deliver value for money on your services
- consult you about any significant changes to your services
- give you clear information about how your services are managed
Service Charge Frequently Asked Questions
What does my service charge cover?
Services vary according to where you live. For example, if you live in a block of flats with a lift you will receive more services than if you live in a low-rise flat which does not have a lift.
How are service charges calculated?
Charges normally change in April and we will give you a month’s notice of any changes.
RBH operates a variable service charges regime. This means tenants will only ever pay the actual cost incurred for a service received. RBH is not allowed to make a profit in addition to the cost of the services.
The charges from April 2020 comprise of two parts:
- The first is an estimate of how much we think it will cost to provide the services during the coming financial year (April 2020 – March 2021). This estimate is based on spending in previous years, estimating the increase due to inflation, and any increases or decreases in spending that we know about for the coming year.
- The second part is an adjustment in relation to the difference between the estimated and actual costs for the financial year 2018-19 (April 2018 – March 2019).
If we spent more than estimated there will be a deficit and this will be added to your service charge. If we spent less than estimated there will be a surplus and this will be taken off your service charge.
When do I receive the actual costs?
We will compare the actual cost of services against our original estimates at the end of every financial year. We will send you a certificate in September of each year to give you this information.
I am a freeholder. Why should I pay?
If your home is in an RBH neighbourhood, your transfer documents will specify which of the costs for maintaining the neighbourhood you must contribute to. If you do not have a transfer document (TR1), please contact your mortgage provider or the Land Registry directly to obtain a copy.
I do not use the communal green space. Why should I pay?
The communal green space is a shared area available to all residents. You have to pay this charge whether or not you choose to use the green space in your neighbourhood. For leaseholders, this will be set out in the lease.
What can I do if I do not believe my service charges are reasonable?
If you do not believe that your service charges are reasonable you should contact the RBH Rents and Payments Team in the first instance. If you do not agree with our response, you may want to have your case heard by the First-Tier Tribunal (https://www.gov.uk/housing-tribunals)
The First-Tier Tribunal is an independent agent who will decide whether the service charges are reasonable.
What if I can’t afford my service charge?
For confidential help and advice regarding any difficulties in paying your service charges please visit our Money Advice page for more information. We can help!
If you receive housing benefit you should contact your local housing benefit department to ensure you are receiving the right level of benefit
Which service charges are eligible for housing benefit?
Housing benefit will cover all communal service charges, for example communal stairwell lighting or grounds maintenance. Housing benefit will not cover personal charges for heating, utility costs or water charges related to your home or meals.
Why do I pay for communal/estate electricity charges?
You are required to pay for your share of the communal light power consumption provided in your block and any outside lighting in your neighbourhood, the maintenance of the lights, appliances, replacing of light bulbs and any standing charges levied by the energy provider.
Why does my neighbour pay a different amount?
The costs are shared out amongst the homes in the block or neighbourhood in a ‘reasonable’ way. This can be equal shares but may also be based on floor area or number of rooms. If you are a leaseholder, your lease may set out the method of apportioning costs.
Why have my charges gone up this year?
We try to ensure our costs are kept as low as possible but they can rise for a number of reasons, including general inflation, price rises from suppliers/contractors and changes to service levels.