Leaseholders

Paying for Major Works

We understand that most people are not able to pay large bills for major work without adjusting their budgets or arranging loans. The following information covers the main ways you can pay the charges for major work. If you are able to pay the full amount, please pay the total debt immediately, preferably, within three weeks of the invoice date.

Paying in instalments before work is completed

If we have sent you an estimated s20 invoice for major work at the start of a contract, we will accept monthly interest-free instalments for the length of the contract, until we have agreed a final account with the contractor. When we are sent a breakdown of the final account, we will work out the actual payment for the work and send you a statement showing the difference between the estimated bill we sent you and the actual costs. If the estimated bill was too low, we will send you another invoice. You will need to make arrangements for paying the extra invoice and any money still owing from the earlier estimated invoice immediately, using any of the payment options shown here.

If the estimated bill was too high, we will tell you how much is due to you. We will only give you a refund if your service charge account is fully paid.

Paying in instalments after the end of a contract

We may be able to agree with you that you can pay the amount you owe us over 12,18 or 24 months dependent on the amount owed. If you want to do this, you must write to us within three weeks of the date of the invoice and let us know how much you are going to pay each month. Please do not telephone us to make an instalment arrangement, this request needs to be put in writing. As long as the amount you offer to pay will clear the debt within 12, 18 or 24 months, we will agree to your offer and advise you when the first payment is due. You must make regular payments every month, we strongly advise you to setup a standing order.

Please remember that if you miss any of the monthly payments, and you have a mortgage on the property we will write to your mortgage company to recover any outstanding amounts due. If there is no mortgage lender we will refer the debt to our solicitors immediately to recover the amount you owe in the county court.

A statutory service charge loan from the council

You may be entitled to a loan from the council, either by law (a statutory loan) or, if you are not entitled to a statutory loan, a discretionary loan.

Any invoices we send you for major work will include information about how you can apply for a service charge loan. Please note that at the moment, we can only offer a service charge loan where the service charge is for repairs, maintenance or improvements. We cannot give you a loan to pay off other service charge debts.

The loan would be secured by a charge on the property. However, the interest rate that applies is set by the Government so it is likely that you should be able to get a loan at a lower rate of interest from a commercial mortgage lender.

If you are entitled to a statutory loan the council must allow it, whether you can afford it or not. But the Law sets out the amount you can borrow and the term of the loan.

Re-mortgaging

This option does not directly involve either us or the council. You could ask your existing mortgage lender for another loan called a ‘further advance’ to pay the service-charge bill for the work. Usually, this would involve the amount of the loan being added to the amount you already owe on your mortgage. Your mortgage lender would then work out a new rate of repayment on your mortgage. They may also consider extending the mortgage term, for example, from 25 to 30 years, to keep the repayments affordable.

If you want to consider this option, you should contact your existing lender in good time to discuss the matter. Most lenders are prepared to approve or refuse a loan in principle before the council has sent you the details of your share of the cost of the work.

Please note that where the bill is not in dispute, or where you have disputed the bill but a court (or arbitration panel) has ruled that you should pay the bill, we are entitled to contact your mortgage lender to ask them to settle the debt on your behalf.

We take a charge on the property

If we agree that you cannot afford any of the options described above, with your agreement we could consider taking a charge on the flat to secure the debt. This is similar to a mortgage, but you would not have to make any monthly payments towards the debt. Instead, when the lease of the flat is transferred (for example, if the flat was sold), you would have to pay the charge in full, along with the interest due.

This option would be a last resort, and would only be considered if the only alternative was court action to recover the lease, as this means repossessing your home.

 

Where and how to pay

Please quote your invoice number when making payment.

At Post Offices and PayPoint Outlets
You can pay this invoice at any Post Office or PayPoint site in the country using your Waltham Forest OneCard.  If you want a Waltham Forest OneCard or if you have any queries regarding the Waltham Forest OneCard, please call Income Services on 020 8496 4197 or e-mail rents@walthamforest.gov.uk

On-Line
You can pay using the Council’s website using your debit or credit card. When on the page the option is "Leaseholder Service Charges.

Telephone
If you have a debit card or a credit card, you can make a payment over the telephone.  Please call WF Direct on 020 8496 3000 and select Option 2.  Please have your invoice number or service charge account number ready.

Through the bank
Please ask your bank for the relevant form quoting the Council’s bank account number 03712060 and sort code 20-00-00.  Also please remember to quote the invoice number.  Banks may make a charge for this service.

Standing Order
If you would like to pay by standing order, please contact Income Services on 020 8496 4197 for a Standing Order mandate.

Problems Paying? 
If you have any difficulties in paying your invoice, then please get in touch with us immediately.  You can ring Income Services at Waltham Forest Housing on 020 8496 4197 or email income.maximisation@walthamforest.gov.uk  
Please note that the council no longer accept cheque or cash payments at their Cashiers Office.

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