Services covered by a service charge

To help you understand what services and works can be covered by a service charge, we have listed the current elements which you will see on your service charge certificate for 2020-21.

Property specific repairs

These are repairs that you have asked us to complete to your property, or communal repairs which affect your home.

Leaseholders and shared owners are responsible for their own repairs, so generally there would be no costs shown under this heading. 

Works are carried out by our repairs and maintenance team or external contractors.

VAT on property specific repairs

VAT is charged at 20% on property specific repairs. 

Communal servicing, testing and repairs 

We have combined a number of service costs as part of our aim to make service charges easier to understand. 

This new element used to be made up of the following costs:

  • Communal equipment - servicing and repairs
  • Communal fixtures and fittings - repairs and renewal
  • Communal furniture - cleaning and maintenance
  • Communal repairs
  • Equipment service and repair
  • Light bulb replacement
  • Guest room facilities and portable appliance testing

Communal utilities 

This covers the cost of any gas, electricity or water and sewerage charges for supplies to communal areas such as common rooms, laundries, kitchens, toilets and showers.  

Communal cleaning services 

These services are undertaken by our in house team of estate wardens and housekeepers who are GreenSquareAccord employees.

Intelligent electrics servicing and repairs

Intelligent electrics is a term used to describe pieces of equipment that undertake a task, such as fire alarm and door entry systems.

This is the cost of both regular servicing and repairs that need to be completed, to keep the equipment in good working order. We have a number of contractors who carry out servicing and repairs for us.

You may notice that fire safety costs (under the intelligent electrics heading) have increased. This is because we have introduced new fire safety measures to meet the standards set out in the Fire Safety Act 2021. We are also preparing for the introduction of a Building Safety Act. Both pieces of legislation are legal requirements.

Grounds maintenance 

This covers works carried out to external grassed and hardstanding areas that we own or are responsible for. This includes gardens at sheltered housing schemes, areas of open space, pathways, and roadside grass verges.

Our in house grounds maintenance team undertake this work in Wiltshire and Gloucestershire. In Oxford, this is carried out by external contractors.

Emergency call systems

This covers the hardwired warden call systems or pull-cord systems at your property, and the 24/7 monitoring of these alarms by an external company. 

Drainage, pumping stations and sewerage 

There are a number of properties that are not connected to mains sewage systems. These properties have private sewerage systems and septic tanks. These systems need to be emptied and cleaned regularly. This work is carried out by external contractors.

Laundry servicing and maintenance 

Some of our sheltered housing schemes have communal laundry facilities. Equipment such as washing machines, tumble dryers and spin dryers need to be serviced regularly and repaired when necessary. We use external contractors to carry out this work.

Legionella and water management

Water management is very important and forms part of our compliance standards as a landlord. Communal water systems, water tanks and heating systems need to be tested regularly. Faults or issues found during testing are dealt with as a matter of urgency. An external contractor carries out this work.

Lift servicing and maintenance 

There are two costs associated with lifts. Firstly, all equipment that carries passengers has to be inspected twice a year under the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations. These inspections are currently completed by an external contractor.

Lifts also need to be regularly serviced and repaired when they fail. This work is also carried out by an external contractor.

External management charges 

GreenSquareAccord has a number of properties, both rented and shared ownership, where services are provided by a separate management company, who arrange and manage services like grounds maintenance and cleaning etc. We have no control over these costs. Any service charges imposed by these management companies are simply passed on under this element.

Provision of telephones 

This covers the costs associated with having an operational telephone line. This is necessary for:

  • communal WiFi;
  • communication systems for offices;
  • door entry systems; and 
  • connections for emergency calls from warden call systems and lifts.

Pest control services

This covers the costs involved in dealing with pests such as rats, wasps and bees in communal areas. We use an external contractor to provide these services.

TV licence fees 

This covers the cost of providing televisions in communal lounges at sheltered housing schemes, or the standard concessionary TV licence fee which is payable to TV Licensing.

Intensive housing management (IHM)

IHM is a term used to describe the services provided by landlords in supported housing. It covers the additional costs incurred in providing services to ensure the ongoing viability of a tenancy. Usually, this includes ordinary landlord services provided at a greater frequency or intensity. This may also include the costs of completing works which a general needs tenant would be expected to complete, for example, replacing a lightbulb or moving furniture. Our house managers and community officers carry out these services.

Waste collection facilities 

These services are divided into two separate components. Our in house team of estate wardens are responsible for the collection and clearance of all waste that is left in or on our property. Sometimes this can be outsourced to external companies if specialist removal is needed.

The second component is the cost of waste collection equipment such as wheelie bins and refuse chutes which may have hire costs or collection costs from the local authority.

Window cleaning

Window cleaning is mainly carried out by our estate wardens. In Oxford, some window cleaning is carried out by external contractors.

Future renewals contributions

Otherwise known as a contribution to a sinking fund or a reserve fund. This is the annual contribution made towards the eventual replacement of items such as doors and windows, door entry systems and fire detection systems.

CCTV and security equipment

This covers the costs of CCTV and other security systems such as alarms, detectors and car park barriers. This work is currently carried out by external contractors.

Building insurance premiums (including insurance premium tax)

GreenSquareAccord currently insures all of its social housing stock and other properties with a specialist housing association policy. 

Leaseholders and shared owners are obliged to use our buildings insurance, which is supplied at a very competitive premium.

Please note that GreenSquareAccord is not responsible for any contents within your home. This remains your responsibility at all times.

Miscellaneous scheme income

This is income earned from renting out guest rooms or areas of schemes that are operated on a commercial basis. For example, a hair salon, kitchen or office.

Heating charges

Some of our schemes have communal heating systems where one boiler provides heating and hot water to all properties in the scheme.

The cost of energy used is split between that used in communal spaces, such as common rooms and staircases, and the remaining consumption is recharged to each property. Private heating costs are ineligible for Housing Benefit and Universal Credit. 

Gas and electricity

This cost relates to schemes that have a building management system. This means there is only one supply for each utility to the building and costs are reported by the system and recharged to individual households by GreenSquareAccord. Our extra care schemes at Fernleigh and The Paddocks have these systems. 

Water and sewerage

This cost relates to schemes that have a building management system. This means there is only one supply for each utility to the building and costs are reported by the system and recharged to individual households by GreenSquareAccord. 

Council tax (where applicable) 

GreenSquareAccord owns and operates specialist supported accommodation, where a number of tenants with specialist needs live together in one property and 24/7 care and support is provided. For these properties the local authority bills GreenSquareAccord for the council tax and this is then split equally between the residents.

Cooker and fridge – furniture charge 

In a small number of our properties, some of the white goods were built-in. This charge covers all associated maintenance costs. 

Management/administration charges 

This covers GreenSquareAccord’s cost for administering and managing the services we provide to you. Currently, this is set at 15% of all charges, except contributions to sinking funds which are recharged at 10%.

Leaseholders and shared owners also pay a set management charge.

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