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We can explain our service charges

Service charges for Shared Ownership

One of the key aspects of being a leaseholder is that you will be required to pay a service charge. This is a sum of money which covers your share of the cost of maintaining the communal area of your development. It is very important that you understand how service charges work, how they are calculated and charged, and your rights and responsibilities.

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 Service Charges

What are service charges composed of?

Below is a list of items which are commonly found in service charge budgets. Every service charge budget is different, so your particular development’s budget may not include all of the items below, but may include some items which are not listed. If there are any items in your particular budget that you have any queries on then please discuss with your solicitor.

It is important to state that how much you pay is dictated by the terms of your lease. You cannot be charged for any costs that the lease does not allow for.

Communal lighting Cost of repairing lighting and replacing bulbs.

Communal repairs Cost of general repairs to the communal areas of the development (e.g. repairing a broken bin store door).

Cleaning A cleaning company will be employed to keep the communal areas clean. Cleaning is typically done on a weekly basis, although the regularity of cleaning can vary from development to development.

Door entry systems Cost of maintaining the intercom system. If the intercom handset in your flat is faulty it will be fixed by Family Mosaic (or on some developments by the EMA) as a communal repair because the handset is part of a communal system. Note - This does not include replacement fobs or communal keys. These will be charged for separately.

Gardening and grounds maintenance Cost of gardening and external sweeping and litter picking. Gardening is normally done more regularly during spring and summer when plants and grass grow more quickly, so need to be tended more frequently.

Building insurance Cost of insuring the structure of your home. Please be aware that you do not need to take out your own building insurance. However building insurance is separate from contents insurance, which is not included in the policy we provide. You will have to arrange your own contents insurance.

Management fee This covers the financial and administrative running costs of providing our service to leaseholders. This is a flat rate fee dependent on the type of property and whether we or an EMA manage the development.

Audit fee Cost of an independent audit of the service charge accounts at the end of each financial year.

Lift maintenance Cost of servicing, maintaining and repairing the lift.

Lift phone line costs Many modern lifts have an emergency call button, which you would press if you became trapped in the lift. This button puts you through to a call centre that would then arrange for a contractor to attend and rescue you. This service requires a telephone line with its own number, as well as a number of test calls each month.

Reserve fund (sometimes called a sinking fund) This is money held in an interest-gathering bank account and is put aside to contribute towards the cost of any cyclical decorations and/ or major works to the block or estate. These cyclical works are typically carried out every five years. The aim of this fund is to fully cover the cost of major works, so that you are not given a large bill for your share of the cost. However, if there are insufficient funds in the reserve fund account to pay for these works, then the shortfall will be recharged to leaseholders in accordance with the terms of the lease.

Money paid into the reserve fund is non-refundable., So, for example, if you were to sell your home after four years, you would not be able to be repaid your previous reserve fund contributions, even if no major works had been carried out in that period.

Bin hire Often bins are hired from the council rather than purchased. This hire fee covers the cost of any necessary bin repairs or replacements.

Bulk refuse clearance Cost of removing items such as furniture, which the council will not remove as part of normal weekly collections. Family Mosaic strongly encourage you to arrange for your own removal of bulky items, to reduce service charge expenditure on this item.

Electricity Cost of supplying electricity to the communal areas, e.g. to the lift, communal lighting and door entry system.

Water Cost of supplying water for cleaning the communal areas. Please note that this doesn't include window cleaning. Window cleaning is very expensive so is not usually undertaken. If it is it will be shown in the service charges.

AOV System This stands for automatic opening ventilation system. When smoke or fire is detected in communal areas such as a corridor, vents automatically open to allow smoke to be taken out of the building, usually via windows or a shaft to the roof.

Dry risers These are pipes leading to communal hallways and stairwells throughout the development which the fire brigade can connect their fire engine¡¯s water supply to. This ensures that they can get a water supply in to all areas of a development, to enable them to put out fires more quickly. Dry risers need to be maintained to ensure they are fit for purpose.

Emergency lighting When there is a power cut, emergency lighting will automatically switch on so that there is still lighting inside internal communal hallways and stairwells.

Lightning protection Many larger developments are fitted with lightning protection systems, which ground any lightning strike into the ground below the development.

Man safe systems These are secure wires installed on flat roofs, which any contractor working on the roof can secure themselves to using a safety harness. Man safe systems require an annual safety check.

Water pumps/boosters The pressure of the water mains supply is not strong enough to pump water up to flats several floors from ground floor level so taller blocks require water pumps to ensure all flats can receive an acceptable level of pressure on their water supply. Sometimes these systems also include a water tank, which also requires servicing. Water tanks also require legionella testing.

Communal boilers Many new developments contain communal heating and hot water systems. These systems have a large central boiler that typically feeds heating and hot water into every property, rather than each property having its own boiler.

These systems are expensive to maintain and service. Many systems also require that they are kept to a regular temperature all the time, meaning that they will need to be heated up (usually via a gas supply), even when there is little usage, for example during the middle of the night.

Leaseholders will usually be charged separately for their heating and hot water usage costs (as these are not service chargeable items). These bills are normally based on meter readings.

Playground equipment Cost of carrying out safety inspections and repairs.

Other mechanical and electrical services There can be a number of mechanical and electrical services in new developments that require maintaining and servicing. Examples include sprinkler systems, drainage systems, fire alarms, fire safety inspections, CCTV and electric vehicle gates.

On site staff Some larger developments feature on site staff, such as caretakers and/or a concierge service.

Section 20 consultation

According to Section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (as amended) if works are required that will cost more than £250 per resident, the landlord or managing agent is legally bound to carry out a consultation process with residents. This process is called Section 20 Consultation. It gives you the chance to formally comment on the works as well as nominate your own choice of contractor to carry them out.

Making payment of service charges

Service charges are charged on a monthly basis at the beginning of the month and collected as a joint payment along with your monthly rent charge if you are a shared owner. Family Mosaic prefers to take payment via a direct debit, although you can set up a standing order if necessary.