Your service charge
When you buy your home you enter into an arrangement, through your lease, to contribute financially towards maintaining the common parts of your building and the structure of your building.
As a leaseholder you have to pay an annual service charge to us to cover these costs. The amount you have to pay is based on the cost of the service provided and can vary from year to year. The percentage you pay of the total cost of services to your block and estate is stated in your lease.
What are service charges?
Service charges are your share of the costs that we incur in maintaining and managing the building your home is in, and the estate it is on. As a leaseholder, you share those costs with the landlord and any other leaseholders in your building.
We calculate your service charges as a percentage, depending on the size of your home in relation to the size of the building. All homes, when combined, will equal 100 per cent of the building. Your lease will tell you the percentage size of your flat.
You will not be charged for any work we do in tenants' flats, garages, playgrounds or sheds. As your landlord, we have a duty under the terms of your lease to maintain the building to a reasonable standard. This also applies to the terms of the tenancy agreement.
The service charge estimated invoices for the year ahead are sent in April each year. The actual charges (where the actual costs incurred are adjusted after being calculated) are sent in September after the end of the financial year. A detailed breakdown of how the charges are allocated is included with the invoices.
Your service charge breakdown explained
To help you understand your invoice please see your service charge breakdown explained (pdf 49KB) with explanations of the figures and what they represent.
What do I pay for?
The charges you have to pay depend on the services we provide to the building, the repairs we have to do, and the share stated in your lease.
The main charges are for:
- grounds maintenance
- estate security and support
- block and estate maintenance
- lift maintenance and servicing
- door entry maintenance
- TV aerials
- landlord's electricity
- booster pumps
- ground rent
- management costs
- major works – repairs, renewals and improvements.
You may not get all these charges and there may be extra ones where the service is not common in all of our buildings. The charges you have to pay are shown on the invoice you receive.
For a more detailed breakdown of the charges and any other enquiries about service charges please contact the service charges team:
0800 840 4501 (free from landlines) or
020 8753 4500 (from mobiles)
Paying service charges
Different ways to pay for your service charges
- By direct debit: direct debit form (pdf 61KB) you can save a copy to your device.
- Online: by credit or debit card, via a secure link, go to the online payments page.
- Over the phone: by Switch/Delta/Visa/Mastercard. Simply dial 0208 753 1930, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- At a bank: pay at any bank using the payment slip at the bottom of your invoice. Cheques should be made payable to 'LBHF'. Note: it may take up to 10 days for these payments to credit your account. Payment may be made at any branch of Nat West without charge. A small charge may be made at other banks. Please write your name, address, account reference and invoice number on the back of the cheque.
- At our cashier’s office: payments can be made from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm at our customer service centre, 145 King Street, Hammersmith, W6 9XY.
- By post: cheques should be crossed and made payable to 'LBHF' and sent to Hammersmith & Fulham Council, 3rd Floor, 145 King Street, Hammersmith, W6 9XY. Please write your name, address, account reference and invoice number on the back of the cheque.
Paying for major works
See our major works web page for information on more payment options when paying for major work.
What if I am having problems paying?
For help and advice if you are having problems paying please contact your Income Officer as soon as possible, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call freephone 0800 840 4501 from your landline or 020 8753 4500 from your mobile.
1. What is buildings insurance?
It is an insurance policy covering the structure and fabric of the building. That means permanent fixtures such as the ceiling, roof, bricks, common parts and stairwells. It does not cover damage by general wear and tear but does cover losses by causes common to most insurance policies such as fire, lightning, explosion, earthquake, civil disorder, terrorism, escape of water, subsidence and so on. For a full list please see the policy.
2. What is covered?
It will cover replacement of the ceiling. It also covers fixtures and fittings such as kitchen units and fixed units such as your bath and basin. It does not cover any items which are removable, such as electronic goods or most furniture.
3. Are fixtures and fittings covered?
The following fixtures and fittings are covered:
- built-in furniture and built-in ovens and hobs
- fixed glass and fixed sanitary ware
- pipes, ducts, tanks, cables, switches, fires, boilers and storage heaters, all of which are permanently fixed
- wall, floor and ceiling coverings which are permanently fixed are covered, other than carpets and laminate flooring (which is not allowed in flats).
We strongly recommend that you organise your own contents insurance to protect your belongings and to cover damage to your possessions. We do not insure your furniture, belongings or decorations against theft, fire, vandalism or burst pipes.
We offer a home contents insurance policy (pdf 690KB) specifically designed for tenants and leaseholders with Royal Sun Alliance.
4. How do I make a claim?
To make a claim, please contact Questgates Limited, claims administrators on behalf of Avid Insurance Services Ltd, quoting policy number 2020CP000110:
- 01204 860 427
- TPA Solutions, Questgates Limited, Benchmark House, Folds Point, Folds Road, Bolton, BL1 2RZ.
For out of hours assistance please call the main switchboard, which operates 24/7, on 0121 411 0535.
5. How long do I have to notify a claim?
You have to notify a claim as soon as reasonably possible. Failure to do so may invalidate the claim. If you are subletting your property it is important that your tenants are aware of this. It is a requirement of the lease agreement that a written notice of underlet along with the appropriate fee is served on the council confirming the terms and conditions of the underlet.
6. Is damage caused by water penetration from a gutter covered by insurance?
The damage is usually covered by buildings insurance unless it is due to a persistent problem. In this instance a claim could be brought against the council if it can be established that the council failed to respond to the request for a repair within a reasonable period.
7. What happens if a leaseholder has a leak from a pipe in his/her bathroom or kitchen and it leaks into the flat below?
If the pipe is a shared pipe that does not only serve the property the repair can be carried out by the council’s repair team. If the pipe solely serves your property alone then the repair is the responsibility of the leaseholder and this cost would not be covered by the building insurance. However damage caused by the leak would be covered by the buildings insurance if it affected decorations and/or the fixtures and fittings of other flats listed above. If both affected flats are leasehold, they would both need to make a claim.
8. What happens if there is a leak into a leaseholder’s flat?
If the leak is covered as an insured peril the leaseholder would claim against the building insurance policy for damage to decorations and/or fixtures and fittings. After settlement of the claim the insurer may have the option to pursue their claim against any third party that might be identified. That means there is the possibility you could be pursued for damages if the incident is proved to be your fault. What happens if a leasehold flat leaks into a tenanted flat? The tenant would need to approach the council to submit a claim for damage caused to decorations and/or fixtures and fittings. The leaseholder should in no way admit any liability. Damage to contents may be pursued by the tenant, who would need to request details of any contents insurance the leaseholder may have.
7. I think my property is under/over insured
If you are unsure if the level of cover is adequate, you are advised to arrange for the flat to be surveyed and valued for insurance purposes. Where we receive written requests for a change in the fire valuation we will consider them. Please note that insurance cover runs for a full financial year and no changes affecting the premium can be made until the next renewal date. Where you have, with landlords consent, made alterations to the flat it is part of the licence that we automatically increase cover by a minimum of £20,000. Where alterations or extensions have been carried out, or a conservatory or other building has been erected without landlord’s consent, you should be aware that in the event of a major incident you may not be fully covered.