As a homeowner you are responsible for paying service charges, ground rent and other fees. If you are a shared owner, you are responsible for paying rent and buildings insurance to us. We cover some of the commonly asked questions here. You can still check your rent account and find out how to make a payment. If you own all of your property you may be paying a service charge to us.
If you would like further information please contact us or call our Customer Service Centre on 0330 1234 034
Shared ownership rent
Shared ownership rents
Shared owners own a share of their home and pay rent on the share that we own. The initial rent set when the property is built is based on a percentage of the value of our share. It is a condition of the lease that we provide buildings insurance and shared owners pay for this as well as rent.
How is shared ownership rent reviewed?
We review shared ownership rent and notify you of any changes once a year, giving at least one month's notice if your rent is changing. The rent review is based on your lease which usually allows for a percentage increase plus the rate of inflation. If you buy a new shared ownership property there is no change to your rent for the first 12 months.
Shared ownership rent is payable on the first day of every month in advance.
Where does my rent go?
Your rent covers the costs of repaying money we have borrowed to buy or build your home, salaries, investment for future homes and providing services.
Service charge budgets
This is an estimate of the amount we will have to spend to provide services for the next 12 months.
We calculate the budget by:
•looking closely at how much we have spent in the last 6-9 months and estimating how much we are likely to spend in the coming year. •getting quotes for services when we can, so we know how much services will probably cost. •taking into account any shortfall from previous budgets. •allowing for an increase in inflation.
We usually ask you to pay the service charge on the first day of each month. If the charges are very low we may charge you annually.
Service charge account statement
At the end of the financial account year, an account statement is prepared by our finance team and independently checked. It shows the actual cost of providing services during a 12 month period and the estimated amount, which you paid.
If you have paid more than the cost of providing the services, this is credited to your main account. If you would like the credit to be refunded to you we can arrange this on request.
If the estimated amount paid was not enough to cover actual costs you will need to pay the shortfall.
Home owners pay service charges for shared facilities or services. Your lease states that we must provide the service and you must pay a proportion of the costs. The following information is based on Bromford or contractors who we appoint providing services.
If an independent managing agent provides the service where you live, they will manage service charges differently.
Your service charge may include the following:
Cleaning communal areas
Cleaning is usually carried out in communal areas in apartments weekly. Separate window cleaning is carried out on communal windows each month.
Grounds maintenance is carried out at a contracted price as per our specification to maintain communal areas. This includes grass cutting, litter picking and sweeping.
The cost of lighting is based on actual invoices received for the electricity charge for internal or external communal areas.
The door entry system is on a service contract covering call outs for repairs and maintenance.
Fire Alarm System
The fire alarm system is on a service contract. Fire alarm systems are tested quarterly and the cost includes day to day repairs and maintenance and call outs of engineers. A separate fire testing contract covers the legal requirement to undertake fire testing.
Repair costs which benefit the whole development are charged equally across the scheme, for example, repairs to the communal car park lighting.
The cost of repairs specific to an individual block of flats are divided equally between the number of properties within the block, for example repairs to communal lighting or other internal repairs within a block of flats.
For the supply, installation and on going maintenance costs for digital aerials.
The audit fee is for independent external auditors to verify the end of year service charge account statement.
Reserves and Provisions Fund
If allowed by your lease we collect a reserve fund. This is collected for future maintenance expenditure for major or planned works such as external painting, roof or window replacements.
The fund earns interest and is used to meet part or all of the costs when these are needed.
If there is not enough money in the fund to meet the costs of works you will be asked to pay any shortfall. We encourage you to make your own savings provision for future works.
Management fee - covers the duties we perform managing your lease including: collecting and checking service charge payments, setting service charge budgets and producing accounts, the administration of contracts and the services of our home ownership team.
If the development where you live includes rented properties, some of the service costs may be charged to rented customers as part of their rent rather than as a separate service charge cost
If you are a home owner or a shared owner and live in a flat, you will usually have to pay a ground rent. Ground rents are typically between £10 - £250 per year. They are fixed amounts which do not usually change from year to year.
Your lease states how much ground rent is payable, when it is due, and if there will be any increase. Ground rent is usually payable once or twice a year.
We will send you a ground rent notice asking for payment before the ground rent is due. We will tell you how much you need to pay, when it is due and who it is payable to. When we send you a request for payment we will also send you a summary of your rights and obligations. You have 30 days to pay the Ground rent from the date the notice is served.
Buying back your shared ownership property - financial rescue
Are you a shared owner having difficulty keeping up mortgage and rent payments? We may be able to help by buying the share you own back from you.
We are only able to buy back the share in your home if you want to stay there. After we purchase your share you would no longer own the property and become a tenant. You would pay a weekly rent for the property and have a tenancy agreement with us.
Who can we help?
We can consider applications from shared owners experiencing very real financial difficulties making mortgage and rent payments if your mortgage lender has started possession proceedings.
We do not have to buy the property from you. Funding to support this is very limited and we have to apply a priority order when considering requests.
How do I apply?
We will arrange to meet you at your home and ask you to complete and sign a budget summary declaring all of your income and outgoings. We will use this information to work out if you can afford to stay in the property and rent it from us. We will also discuss what steps you have taken to resolve your financial difficulties. We will conduct various checks and value the property before we can make a decision.
Usually we will let you know within eight weeks of the date of your application if we are able to help, provided you have given us all the documentation we need.
Remortgaging your shared ownership property
You may wish to remortgage your shared ownership property so you can switch to a better rate, help ease financial difficulties or make home improvements.
When you bought your home, we approved your mortgage. If you want to change your mortgage, you need to ask for our approval.
If I decide to remortgage what information will you need?
If you decide to change your mortgage lender and take out a mortgage on your property for the same amount of money - your new lender will write to us to ask our consent.
We will need:
•written confirmation of the value of your home from your new lender and a copy of the new mortgage offer
•a statement from your present lender of how much you have left to pay on your mortgage.
What information do you need if I want to borrow extra money on my mortgage?
If you're applying to borrow extra money on your mortgage for home improvements or major repairs, we have to check that your new mortgage is not worth more than your share in your property. This is to protect our investment in the property - in other words, to make sure that if the property were repossessed we would get back our share of its value after paying off the mortgage and costs.
We will need:
•confirmation of what home improvements you plan to do with estimates for any work
•copies of planning and building regulation approval, if needed
•written confirmation of the current value of your home from your new lender and of their mortgage offer
•written confirmation from your present lender of how much you still have to pay on your mortgage
Your mortgage lender will need to write to us and we will also ask you to complete an alterations request form
If you own a share in your property or 100% of an apartment, we arrange the buildings insurance on your home and you will have to pay for this. There are some exceptions when someone else owns the freehold and another managing agent provides services. If this applies to you, we will have told you when you moved in.
Administration fees are changed for a range of services provided to homeowners. These services are not included within the service charge. Payment of the fee is required in advance of the service being provided.
All fees include VAT and are reviewed on 1 April each year based on the actual cost of providing services.
These fees are for our administration services only. Additional fees may apply – eg valuation fees and/ or our legal fees as well as your own legal fees.