What are service charges?
They pay for the services we provide to your estate or block. This could include cleaning communal areas, looking after any outside space, lift maintenance and communal lighting. Any changes in the amount you pay will take effect from July each year.
Can I see my rent and/or service charge statements?
Please call Customer Services on 0300 303 1010 to ask for a statement.
Service charges – FAQs
What is a service charge?
Service charges pay for the services we provide to your estate or block. This could include cleaning communal areas, looking after any outside space, lift maintenance and communal lighting. Paradigm does not make a profit on service charges; you just pay for the services that you receive.
When will I know how much I need to pay?
You will get at least four weeks’ notice of the change. The amount that you pay may go up or down. This will depend on how much it cost us to provide services to you in the previous year and what we expect to spend providing those services this year. The service charge for shared owners and tenants is applied to your weekly rent. Leaseholders will receive an annual invoice.
When will my service charge amount change?
How do you calculate my service charge?
As it isn’t possible to guarantee 12 months in advance exactly how much services are going to cost, we send you an estimate of what we think the cost of providing services will be in the coming year. This estimate is based on what was spent in the previous year, taking into account any increases or decreases due to changes in contracts or service requirements.
We produce your Service Charge Year End Statement which shows your share of the amount spent, what we estimated and the difference between these two sums. This difference is applied to your account as an actual charge, also known as a year-end adjustment.
What is an under recovery?
An under recovery is when we have overspent on the budget we set. This means your charge may increase the following year to cover this extra cost.
What is an over recovery?
An over recovery is when we spend less than we have charged you. This means your charge may go down the following year.
What is the management fee?
The management fee pays for the administration costs incurred by Paradigm. It covers:
- estates services
- contract management and monitoring
- service charge calculation and production of accounts
- general administration
We review how much it costs us to administer service charges for the year and then allocate these costs to each block or estate based on the level of services received. Paradigm’s management fee will not exceed 15% of your total service charge costs.
I have been charged for a service I don't receive.
If you believe you have been charged for a service that you have not received, please contact Customer Services on 0300 303 1010. You should only be charged for the services you receive.
What services are included in my service charge cost?
Your service charge includes all of the services that you receive in your block or estate. The statement we send to you will outline these services and for more information on what each service covers please see the Service Charge Guide. Please note the guide is comprehensive and you are unlikely to require or receive every service listed.Service Charges guide
What if I am having financial difficulties and struggling to make a payment?
If you are struggling to make a payment, please contact our Customer Service Team on 0300 303 1010. It is important to tell us straight away if you are in financial difficulty. We are here to help and can provide information regarding help and support services. You can also visit our Customer Support Hub if you wish to view this information online.
Do I pay for repairs for my building?
Yes, for communal areas. Some chargeable services are included in the maintenance and service contracts, like lifts and car park barriers.
Why do you charge for bulk refuse collection?
If we are forced to arrange for the collection of bulk refuse, then the cost will be included in your service charge. Where we have evidence that a specific resident is responsible for the bulk refuse this will be recharged directly to that person.
What is section 20?
Under Section 20 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985, we are legally obliged to consult you if we plan to:
- Do any work to your block that will cost you more than £250 (known as ‘qualifying works’)
- Enter into an agreement for work or services which will last for more than 12 months and will cost you more than £100 a year.
This consultation is carried out through the Section 20 consultation process. It includes but is not limited to:
- Reactive repairs
- Investment works – redecorations, roof and window replacements
- Contracts such as grounds maintenance, cleaning and utilities.
Further advice on section 20 processes can be found here.
Why do I pay service charges when I live in a house?
If you live in a house, you may still pay service charges towards the maintenance and upkeep of your estate. This includes services like external cleaning and gardening. All properties on the estate will share the costs.
What is a sinking fund?
The purpose of a sinking fund is to set aside money for larger maintenance work to ensure suitable funds are available when required.
If a fund is not in place, leaseholders would be at risk of facing large bills when maintenance work is required. A sinking fund effectively spreads the cost of this work and would only be charged where your lease allows.
Sinking funds can be used towards a range of key maintenance tasks such as:
- Roof replacement
- Window replacement
- External decoration
- Internal decoration of communal areas
What is ground rent?
Most homeowners have to pay ground rent as a condition of their lease. It is paid to the owner of the land your home is built on. The amount you have to pay and how you pay is detailed in your lease agreement.
Affordable Rent customers
Customers who rent their properties from us under the Government’s Affordable Rent Scheme (80% of market rent including service charges at the point of occupation) will see their service charges change, however, their rent element will be adjusted to keep the overall weekly charge the same. These customers have their total weekly charge reviewed in April; therefore, the overall charge for the year till March 2024 will remain the same.
We are all facing the effects of rising energy prices above the level of inflation. We bulk purchase our energy in advance on a contract running from October to September to provide certainty and the best value for our customers.
To calculate the estimated charges for 2023-24, we are using estimates for usage based on current prices to the end of September 2023, then forecasting where energy prices will be from October 2023 as well as usage. We are using energy consultants to support us in making these estimates.
We have applied an overall cap to the service charge increase to reduce the impact on our customers.
In addition, we recently wrote to all customers who pay personal heating charges via their service charges signposting to the support available from the Government.
Who should I contact if I need to discuss my service charge?
Please contact our Customer Service team on 0300 303 1010.