Where EHSL provides additional services to its tenants, it will add service charges to the rent charged and bill these as part of the rent. Service charges are set to cover the cost of providing and managing the services that the tenant or scheme requires, and EHSL endeavours to recover the full cost of HB eligible services that it provides. Information about specific service charges is below.
Please contact EHSL if you wish to discuss any of your service charges.
Where included, the Gardening/Grounds Maintenance charge will allow a gardener to attend on a periodic basis to cut grass, clear weeds and nettles, trim hedges, remove leaves, sweep hard standings, and cut back trees. The frequency of the visit depends on the size and maturity of the garden.
Window Cleaning is usually included for sites with communal windows which cannot be cleaned by the tenants. Visits are usually made either quarterly or monthly. Cleaning internal windows is the responsibility of the tenant(s)
Where EHSL makes payment to another party for waste removal, it includes this as a service charge. This may include bulky waste collections or sanitary waste collection.
Many of EHSL’s properties have an interlinked fire alarm system and emergency lighting which require an engineer to make a periodic Fire Alarm and Emergency Lighting Servicing visit to ensure the system is working correctly. If this charge isn’t included it is likely that the cost of providing the service is included within the core rent and paid to the owner of the property.
Fire extinguishers are provided in certain types of schemes, particularly larger shared houses. Where Fire Extinguishers are provided by EHSL, they are serviced and inspected to ensure that they are safe. EHSL includes Fire Fighting Equipment servicing in its service charge schedule where it is responsible for arranging and providing this service.
Regular Pest Control services are provided at some larger sites where a planned pest control programme is required. At other sites a contribution is collected to allow EHSL to provide responsive pest control services to address statutory pest nuisances when required.
Communal Cleaning is sometimes provided in blocks of flats and in shared housing where the tenants have been assessed as being unable to clean the shared areas of the property. The cost allows for a frequent visit to sweep, hoover, dust and wipe down communal areas. Some sites may have a charge listed as Communal Cleaning (ad hoc), which is intended to provide occasional and irregular cleaning such as an oven cleaning, periodic deep cleans, or carpet cleaning.
EHSL provides Furniture and Household Equipment to some tenants. This service charge is used to periodically replace sofas, dining tables and other items in communal areas.
In some schemes, EHSL has provided Laundry Equipment and White Goods for its tenants use. White Goods include items such as fridges, cookers and washing machines.
Whilst tenants are responsible for maintaining the standard of decoration in their own areas of accommodation, we recognise that communal areas in blocks of flats and shared houses require periodic decoration. This is typically provided on a 3-5 year basis depending on need, and can cover repainting of walls, ceilings and woodwork, and replacement flooring where required.
Where included, this component contributes to heating, lighting, water and sewerage for circulation areas, shared kitchens, living rooms etc
In some situations EHSL charges a Void and Bad Debt Cover charge on the sum of the service charges, to reflect situations where a scheme is partly occupied and the cost of providing the services required isn’t covered fully from the service charges received from the occupants. The charge only covers components which are eligible for payment via Housing Benefit
An amount equal to 15% of the sum of the eligible service charges is included and allocated against the cost of arranging, managing and administrating the provision of the services provided. This is consistent with the requirements of Section 18 of the LTA 1985 which allows a service charge to include ‘relevant costs’, including overheads [permitted via section 18(3)]
Where an EHSL site receives one supply from each utility company, a fixed contribution may be included in the rent. The contributions are reviewed to ensure that they are sufficient to cover the cost of providing the utilities required. If the charge is included, EHSL will be the account holder and will pay the supplier on receipt of the bill. This charge is not eligible for payment via Housing Benefit and must be paid by the tenant.
Where EHSL includes a designated support cost within the rent charged it will appear on the rent breakdown. This charge is not eligible for payment via Housing Benefit and must be paid by the tenant
Examples of other services that may be provided on a site by site basis (subject to contract and funding being available) are:
- Servicing of Hoists and large occupational therapy aids
- Fire Alarm monitoring service
- TV Licence
- Access systems