Leaseholders

How are charges calculated?

The amount of service charges you pay depends on the gross value of your flat. The District Valuer’s Office calculates gross values based on the property’s market value, floor area, age and condition. The gross value of a block or an estate is the total of the gross values of all the flats in the block, or on the estate. For example, if a block has six flats in it and each flat has a gross value of £300, the gross value for the block will be £1,800 (6 x £300). The same rule applies to the estate.

If your service charge is different from your neighbour’s charge, it could be because your flat is larger or smaller, older or newer, and so has a higher or lower gross value. There may also be differences caused by the age and type of a lease.

Management fee

We charge a management fee to cover all administration costs of working out charges, managing accounts, dealing with enquiries, supervising services and so on.

The management fee is charged in two parts, a fixed fee and a percentage fee. The fixed fee covers the leasehold-related costs of the Homeownership Team such as calculating service charges, producing annual Estimates and Schedules of Service Charges, issuing invoices, dealing with queries, issuing Ground Rent Notices, payment reminders, producing newsletters, office overheads and so on.

The percentage fee is added to the cost of services such as caretaking, repairs and grounds maintenance to cover the cost of managing those services.

We include a separate administration charge in the cost of any major work we carry out. This charge includes the costs of paying consultants and surveyors, the costs of consultation meetings, newsletters, office overheads and so on.

Building Insurance

The buildings insurance policy covers your flat and the block it is in. The buildings insurance policy does not cover your furniture or personal belongings. We strongly advise you to buy contents insurance to cover your furniture and personal belongings.

If you rent out your property it may affect your buildings insurance, this is because your premium is normally based on the fact that you are living in the flat.

Charges for your estate

These charges are for the shared areas of your estate. Your estate is described in the 1st schedule of your lease and shown on your lease plan. These charges do not include work carried out to public paths and roads (rather than estate roads managed by Waltham Forest Housing) which run through the estate.

Grounds maintenance charges include the costs of weeding hard surface areas, cutting grass and pruning shrubs and rose bushes. The Grounds Maintenance team are required to keep the grounds to an agreed standard and will normally visit each block and estate according to a planned schedule. The schedule may occasionally change, depending on the weather.

Day-to-day repairs to the estate are charges which include work carried out to any part of the estate that is not part of a block. For example; roads, paths, car park and garage areas, pram sheds, store cupboards and fences on the estate. We do not charge you for repairs carried out to garages.

Communal electricity may be charged as an estate cost if lamp columns on estate roads are linked to individual blocks.

Charges for your block

Caretaking and cleaning charges include the cost of the caretaking service, as well as any associated services such as bulk refuse clearance and chute cleaning (see below). We provide two types of caretaking service, the resident caretaking service and the mobile caretaking service.

The charge for a resident caretaker includes the costs of wages, accommodation allowances, a uniform, tools and equipment. Resident caretakers live in one of the blocks they look after, so may not live in the same block as you. The charge for mobile caretakers does not include any costs for accommodation but does include the costs of transport, uniform, equipment and wages. We work out the charges based on the average amount of time the caretaker(s) spend at your block each week.

The caretaker’s main tasks are:

  • Checking that shared lighting is working properly and changing bulbs and time clocks
  • Clearing litter
  • Reporting repairs
  • Sweeping shared entrances to blocks
  • Cleaning the inside surfaces of shared windows.

 

You will normally only be charged for either the resident caretaking service or the mobile caretaking service. However, if we have to change the way we provide a caretaking service to your block during the year, you may be charged part-year costs for both services.

Building cleaning charges cover the costs of cleaning shared areas such as staircases, corridors and balconies. Building cleaners are also responsible for removing graffiti and polishing the floors in shared areas. Service charges are based on the amount that we are charged for each site by the council’s Portfolio Management Services team who carry out the work.

Communal electricity charges are for the lights in shared areas, controlled-entry systems, lifts and any shared aerial systems. Charges are based on electricity bills we pay on the relevant electricity meters. On some estates where lamp columns are linked to block electricity meters, communal electricity may be charged as an ‘estate’ cost instead of a ‘block’ cost.

Day-to-day repairs to the block charges, include work to shared parts of the block such as the roof, shared staircases, window frames and drains. Any repair and maintenance costs we charge to a block are only for that block, not for the whole estate.

Lift repairs and maintenance charges include the cost of the yearly maintenance contract as well as the cost of any new parts and so on. Sometimes these costs may not be shown separately from day- to-day repairs. Entryphone repairs and maintenance charges include the cost of repairs, renewing parts and maintaining all parts of controlled-entry systems including video cameras. Sometimes these costs may not be shown separately from day-to-day repairs.

Porter or Concierge costs include wages, equipment, a uniform and telephone charges.

Charges for your flat

We are not responsible for carrying out day-to-day repairs and maintenance on the inside of leased flats, unless they affect pipes, drains and so on which also serve other flats in the block.

For example, if you have a leaking toilet in your flat or you need a broken window to be boarded up and you ask us to help, we will charge you for doing the work. Before we will agree to carry out the work you will be asked to sign a form saying that you agree to pay for it. We may include the charge in your service charges, or we may send you a separate bill.

Either way, you will also have to pay VAT and an administration charge. If the damage was caused by an accident or vandalism, you may be able to claim for some of these costs under your insurance policy.

If you need a repair carried out inside your flat, one of our contract partners may be able to help. Contact Waltham Forest Housing on 0208 496 4197

In some cases we may have to carry out some work inside your flat. You must give us access to enable us to do this. We may include a charge for the work in your service charges or we may send you a separate bill.

Communal heating and heating-maintenance contract charges cover the cost of fuel and maintaining boilers for flats with shared heating systems.

Charges for major works

We charge you for major repairs and improvements we carry out as part of our maintenance responsibilities.

We plan meetings to consult you about this work, starting at an early stage of the design process. At the meetings, surveyors’ will explain the planned work. You will be able to ask questions, give your views and make suggestions. When a new scheme has been fully designed, we will send you a Notice of Intention, telling you about the work we plan to do.

If the work is to be carried out by one of our partnering contractors, we will only send you one notice telling you that we are going to carry out the work. The notice will give you a cost estimate and give you 30 days to write to us with your comments. Although we take your views in to account, we cannot always act on them.

Please email the Homeownership team on rtb.lease@walthamforest.gov.uk for your major works invoice enquires.

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