What is a service charge?

As a leaseholder you have a “share” in the building you live in. This means you have a responsibility to pay a share of the cost of managing and maintaining the building. These costs are called service charges and paying them is one of the conditions of your lease.

Service charges usually cover things like repairs and services to communal areas, for example providing lighting in the lobby or maintaining shared gardens and lifts.

You normally have to pay a share of everything even if you don't use some of the services. For example, even if you live on the ground floor and never use the lift, you will have to pay something towards its maintenance.


The amount you pay can vary from one year to the next. This is called a variable service charge.

If you bought your home through Right to Buy,  the council will have given you an estimate for the cost of repairs for the first five years of your lease. We can't charge you more than the estimate (plus inflation) during that time.

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