Service or estate charge explained

Service or estate charge
What is a Service or Estate Charge?

A service or estate charge covers the costs of services required to manage and maintain the building and public spaces. This usually includes:

  • Ongoing maintenance and repairs.
  • Cyclical, longer term redecoration or maintenance.
  • Non-discretionary upkeep, such as Health & Safety obligations, statutory reporting, billing and information provision.
  • Managing agent services
  • VAT and IPT (insurance premium tax) as applicable on the above.

Who pays the service/estate charge?

This is usually determined in your lease or title/deeds. Often, the charge is split equally if the individual properties are just apartments or just houses. If an estate contains a mix of apartments and houses, the service charge can be split as follows:

  • Maintenance of any roads not adopted by the local council would be allocated equally to all properties
  • Maintenance relating to the apartment building(s) would be allocated equally to apartments only.

What is the difference between a service charge budget and a year-end service charge account?

A service charge budget is an estimate of your share of the likely costs for the coming year and this is payable in advance. This is estimated on previous years’ costs.

A year-end service charge account is a statement of the actual spend during the past year, and your share of those costs. When you receive a year-end service charge account, you will see a summary of the amount paid at the start of the year for the service charge budget and the difference between the year-end service charge. If the year-end service charge is higher, you will need to pay the difference. If it is lower, then the difference will be carried forward as a credit to the next accounting period.

Why might there be a difference between the service charge budget and year-end service charge account?

There are a number of reasons why the actual amount spent is more than the estimated budget and this could include:

  • Unexpected, emergency repairs
  • Removing non-domestic waste left around the development (fly-tipping)
  • Removal of cigarette ends from the development (not covered under the usual maintenance contracts)
  • Increased buildings insurance premiums as a result of an RCA (reinstatement cost assessment) to evaluate the rebuild cost
  • Insurance excess in the case of a claim on the buildings insurance.

Why do I pay council tax and a service or estate charge?

Service or estate charges pay for services specific to the management and maintenance of your development, from outside lighting to common area maintenance.

Council tax pays for services provided by the council to the wider community, including refuse collection, social services, schools, and the police.

Guidance for Homeowners: What We Can and Can’t Fix
Guidance for Homeowners: What We Can and Can’t Fix

It’s not always clear what your property management company can and can’t fix, so here’s a quick overview.

What Remus Can Fix

As the managing agent, it’s our responsibility to maintain and repair the building and manage the common parts of the building or external environment. This includes the areas where leaseholders have rights of access, e.g. entrance hall, staircases, corridors, and lifts.

Day-to day duties include:

  • Most lease queries
  • Invoice queries
  • Pursuing arrears
  • Supplier and contractor project management
  • Resident communications (updates, queries, complaints, and advice).
  • Company Directors’ queries
  • Enforcement of ‘House Rule’ such as fire and safety hazards or excessive noise
  • Landscaping and green space maintenance.

What Remus Can’t Fix

Whilst we cannot fix problems outside our remit, we can advise residents of who should be able to help.

Outside of our duties include:

  • Repair or maintenance of unadopted roads and pathways (these are matters for your local authority)
  • Street lighting in unadopted areas (these are matters for your local authority)
  • Maintenance of council-run areas, e.g. bus shelters (these are matters for your local authority)
  • Repair or maintenance of internal appliances such as boilers and white goods
  • Disrepair or illegal use of the home or apartment
  • Anti-social behaviour on the site
  • Neighbourly disputes (these are police matters)
  • Onsite intruders (these are police matters)
  • Drug use (these are police matters)
  • Littering including wrongful use of litter bins, such as dog waste
  • Dog fouling in estate grounds
  • Graffiti or wilful damage to property.

If you have a query, please contact your property manager in the first instance, who will be able to advise you.

Things that matter
Things that matter

How we look after the communal areas of your property

It is our responsibility, along with the residents, to make sure that communal spaces are kept safe and clean. They are not an extension of your property, so no personal items should be stored within these areas.


Communal fire doors must be kept closed as part of the block fire strategy. They should not be wedged open. Read more about Fire Precautions here. (link)


We maintain the communal gardens as often as agreed, and in line with the specification agreed with the freeholder or RMC. We welcome any ideas from residents to enhance the areas, so please get in touch. (link)


Lifts are subject to a maintenance contract and regularly inspected. In the event you become trapped in a lift, please remain calm and use the emergency call button. Engineers will usually be with you within an hour.


We maintain and repair lighting in all communal areas. Whilst our Property Management team regularly visits and conducts repairs, if you notice any light bulbs that are no longer working please contact us(link).


Parking is often at a premium, and can be subject to ticketing. Please ensure you and your visitors are aware of any restrictions.


Long-term and cyclical works, such as internal/external redecoration is a strict requirement of the legal documentation for your property. Where permitted, a reserve fund will be collected to contribute towards redecoration when required.


Our cleaning teams maintain all communal areas at the agreed frequency and sign-in sheets are available at block entrances to confirm the space has been cleaned.


Please contact us immediately if you see a leak in any communal areas.

Please contact us by phone on 01722 328685
Or by email:


All contractors are qualified, insured and vetted by our parent company Fexco Property Group, or need to demonstrate pre-existing membership of a scheme approved by the Government-backed Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSIP). We continually review our database of contractors to ensure they have suitable health and safety arrangements and meet all required legislations. Our vetting process includes:

  • Obtaining references to ensure they are competent to work safely and at a high standard
  • Ensuring contractors hold up-to-date certificates of compliance and/or registration documents with statutory bodies
  • Ensuring all contractors are insured
  • Obtaining and approving health and safety policy documentation and information
  • Ensuring contractors have adequate resources
  • Ensuring contractors provide good value for money and quality of service.


Leaks from the apartment above

If you notice water coming into your property from the apartment above, immediately contact the owner of the apartment and call us. We will be able to help where necessary and can contact the owner of the apartment upstairs if you are unable to. It is also advisable to get in touch with building insurers to let them know of any potential claim. Please contact us if you need the insurer’s details.


Each property owner is responsible for the removal of all household refuse and debris of whatever size and nature from their own property. Domestic refuse should be bagged and placed in the communal bins that have been provided in the bin shed. Please do not leave refuse sacks on the floor in the bin store or surrounding area as this creates an environmental risk and encourages pests. If you do not have the details to access the bin store, please contact us and we will be able to assist you.

If you have larger refuse such as furniture or white goods, please view your local council’s website for the options available to you.

Window Cleaning

Most leases require the Management Company or Freeholders to periodically clean the communal windows of the property. Cleaning of individual property windows normally falls under the resident’s responsibility. Please contact us if you are unsure.


Find everything you need to know about the rules and guidelines for subletting your property below.

Rules and guidelines for subletting your property