Service charges

What your charges cover

Services covered by our service charges and how we calculate them

Not all of the charges on this page will apply to you, but you'll get a breakdown every April will tell you which ones do. Rent and service charges will also be different depending on where you live and what type of home you have. If you live in a house, many of these won't apply to you. If you’re not sure, the first thing to do is check your tenancy agreement or lease.

We review our rents and service charges every year and, usually, they will increase slightly as our costs increase (e.g. with inflation).

There are some charges specific to leaseholders/shared owners, affordable rent tenancies, and people living in our Independent Living schemes. Scroll down or click here if you fit into any of these groups.

Caretaking charges cover the cleaning we do in shared area – usually this in hallways, stairs, landings, bin areas, etc.

What the charges covers:

  • The caretaking staff we employ
  • Running the caretaking vans / other vehicles
  • Cleaning materials
  • PPE
  • Collecting rubbish

If your flat has a door entry phone or a ‘buzz in’ system, then it’s likely that you’ll have a charge for keeping the system maintained (e.g. regularly servicing or programming). This cost will be split between all neighbours in the block.

Sometimes there might be areas on your estate that are shared between more than one block of flats, so this charge covers any maintenance we do in these areas.

If you live in a block of apartments, there can be a charge for servicing any fire equipment. This covers the cost of maintaining safety kit such as:

  • Emergency lighting
  • Automated smoke vents
  • Fire alarms
  • Dry risers

You may not notice it happening, but this equipment is tested regularly – some yearly, others at least four times per year.

The contractor we use to service our fire equipment is SGN(But please direct any queries to B3Living.)

If you live in a block of apartments, your block will also be inspected for fire safety risks every year. They identify any risks and give B3Living recommendations. Though they are related, a fire risk assessment is a separate activity from maintaining fire safety equipment (see above), so these charges are separate.

Our contractor for fire risk assessments is Oakleaf.  (But please direct any queries to B3Living.)

Grounds maintenance charges cover the maintenance we do outside your block, in any shared gardens, grounds or verges.

What the charges covers:

  • The grounds maintenance staff we employ
  • Running the grounds maintenance vans / vehicles
  • Tools and PPE
  • Grass cutting, pruning, weeding, clearing dog waste
  • Our contracts with Borough of Broxbourne Council for grass cutting (in some areas) and forestry

These charges cover the cost of heating and lighting in shared hallways, stairways, entrances, etc. The lighting charges could also cover the power to any:

  • CCTV
  • Lifts
  • Door entry systems

For some customers, these costs also include heating inside your flat.

Note: if you pay a service charge for the heating inside your home, this won't be covered by our affordability cap.

If you live in a block of apartments, our charges will usually include the cost of buildings insurance and any public liability insurance.  Our charge doesn’t include any contents insurance, which you will have with your own insurance provider.

If there is a lift in your block, it is will be serviced regularly and repaired if it breaks down.

We also employ a separate specialist consultant to check the work that our lift servicing and maintenance contractor does.

Our charge for lifts covers both services.

From April 2020, our contractor for servicing and maintaining lifts is Summit Elevators.  Their work is monitored by our consultant, Cundalls(But please direct any queries to B3Living.)

Your management fee covers the costs involved in coordinating all our other services.

What’s included:

  • Arranging and managing the contracts.
  • Acquiring services – for example, insurance.
  • Checking and paying invoices.
  • Managing queries.
  • Checking the quality of our services – for example, through surveyor visits.
  • Admin costs – mainly in our Housing team, but also some other departments such as Finance.

If your property is a flat, it’s likely that you will have access to a shared digital TV aerial. Whether you choose to use the aerial or not, there is a cost for maintaining it and making it available for everyone in your block.

Our TV aerials are maintained by SCCI Alpha track Ltd(But please direct any queries to B3Living.)

Some B3Living blocks, but not many, have water pumps fitted. Your charge covers the cost of servicing and maintaining these twice per year.

Our contractor for water pump maintenance is Wilo UK(But please direct any queries to B3Living.)

Our window cleaning charge only covers the cost of cleaning outside, communal windows (e.g. in hallways) above the ground floor. Ground floor windows are cleaned by our caretakers.

Our contractor for window cleaning is Walker Cleaning and Maintenance(But please direct any queries to B3Living.)


If you're a social rent tenant, all your charges will be listed above. If you're a homeowner (leaseholder / shared owner), if you have an affordable rent tenancy, or if you live in one of our Independent Living schemes - then there are some different charges specific to you. Read on for more details about these:

The amount of rent you pay depends on:

  • The size of the share you own. Generally, the more shares you own, the lower your rent.
  • The value of your property at the time of the initial purchase.
  • Annual inflation rate.

This charge covers repairs in communal areas of your block (hallways, entrance doors, etc).

This cost does vary from year to year depending on what we need to fix, but the overall charge is divided evenly across all households in the block.

We will typically go through a consultation process (known as a ‘Section 20 consultation’) before doing any large repairs and maintenance work - find out more about this process here.

Sometimes it isn’t possible to go through a consultation process (for example if the work is urgent) and in those cases any cost to our customers would be capped at £250 per household for each repair.

The charges you receive every April will be estimates. The information above sets out how we calculate each charge, but your estimates will also be based on spending in previous years, forecast spending and other factors (e.g. inflation).

In September, the following year, you'll receive a breakdown of how much was actually spent. For more information on how this process works, click here.

These charges vary depending on what type of alarm you have – e.g. if it’s hard wired or runs off a SIM card.

Sometimes the charge for your engagement service is part of your alarm charge, but for some people this will show as two separate charges.

This charge only applies to a small group of customers at specific schemes.

This charge covers cleaning shared lounges, hallways, landings, etc.

This charge covers the cost of running and maintaining the laundry room, where we have them.

You’ll pay for this if you wear a device around your wrist/neck to activate your alarm.

This charge covers the TV licence.

If you have one of these tenancies, your rent will be 80% of how much you would pay if you were renting on the private market.

Your rent also covers any services that we provide – think of it like being “all inclusive” on holiday. You’ll get the same services (depending on which are relevant to your home), but we don’t list them separately as your rent will always be 80% of the market.