You pay a service charge if you live in a house or flat with the use of a communal area or where there are annual servicing contracts in place. Other charges for additional services we provide can also be made. This section explains the service charge and your responsibilities.
Orbit have a dedicated team responsible for setting service charges. If your enquiry is not answered by the information below, please contact 0800 678 1221 and ask to speak to a member of the Service Charge Team.
- What is a service charge?
A service charge is your payment towards the upkeep of the internal and external common areas of your scheme.
We will provide services which are:
• Necessary for good management
• Provided at the request of our customers after consultation
• Required to meet our legal obligations
• Represent good practice.
- What is included in the service charge?
Below are some examples of the main services that we may currently charge you for in your service charge. Not every scheme managed by us will include all of these, and there may also be additional items that have not been illustrated below.
Communal Electricity – Internal & External
The cost of supplying electricity to the shared facilities in a block and on the estate. This can include lighting; lift supply, replacement bulbs and rental of meters.
Communal Repairs – Internal & External
It is our responsibility to maintain the common areas of your estate. The costs of these works are charged as part of your monthly service charge.
Cleaning – Internal & External
Where we employ a contractor or staff to clean the shared areas both internally and externally these are charged to the service charge. These areas will include walkways, rubbish collection areas, internal floor coverings and rubbish chutes.
Where we employ a grounds maintenance contractor or staff, this includes cutting the grass along with maintenance of shrubs and flowerbeds.
Caretaking/Site Superintendents/Estate Wardens
Some schemes have either a residential or non-residential caretaking service. Costs incurred by having such a service are charged through the service charge.
Servicing of Equipment
Where we have a contract with a company to maintain equipment. These may include lift maintenance, shared TV aerials and communal entry phone systems.
- How can I check my service charge account?
The best way for you to view your service charge account is to login on the my account section of this website.
If you opt to, we can also post you a regular statement of your service charge account.
More detailed information concerning the budgets, actual statements and adjustments on your account is available on request from the Service Charge Team via 0800 678 1221.
If you need a statement at any other time, please contact us and we will send one to you. There may be a charge for this additional service.
- When are the actual costs published for the financial year?
In September each year we will supply you with an annual statement of account which shows what we spent on your estate in the previous financial year. This shows the actual costs against the estimated figures and any repairs carried out in that year. If there is any under-spend or over-spend this will be shown on the statement.
- What if the actual amount spent is different from the estimated amount?
Any shortfall will be debited to your service charge account and you will be asked to clear this, or sign an agreement to clear the deficit by monthly installments.
Any surplus will be credited to your account and your Direct Debit will adjust automatically to refund the money to you. If you prefer to receive the money in a lump sum, you can contact us to arrange a refund.
- Why do I pay into a sinking fund?
Sinking Funds are used for major repairs, equipment replacement and cyclical decoration to communal areas. We assess the work required and charge this over a period of years equal to the time we think it will last. This is then collected each year through your service charge.
The money that you pay into the fund is kept in a separate interest-earning account and is used to assist towards the cost of these items. Details of the amount you have in your fund can be found on your annual sinking fund statement. Should funds in your sinking fund be insufficient to cover expenditure incurred during the year, you will be required to make a payment equal to the shortfall.
- What if I feel the service charges are unreasonable?
Orbit must make sure that its service charges and estimates are reasonable. If you believe that your charges are unreasonable, you should contact us telling us why you think you are being over charged. We will investigate and respond. If you are still unhappy, you can lodge a complaint. If we are still unable to reach a resolution that is acceptable, you can make an application to refer the matter to a First-tier Tribunal. First-tier Tribunals are independent and impartial and you can apply individually or along with other leaseholders and will have to pay the cost of your application.