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Average service charge for London flat? HELP!

(43 Posts)
Lilylo Tue 22-Mar-16 12:40:14

Hi all, I am curios about what a "normal" service charge for a new build London flat is.

I am about to move into a new build flat in a compound with several facilities/ amenities and I am getting a bit concerned about how hefty the service charge is potentially going to be.

Anyone with experience in this? Opinions?

Many thanks for your help!!

bookishandblondish Tue 22-Mar-16 12:55:42

Are you renting or buying?

If renting, should be included within your rent. If buying, your solicitor should have asked as part of the lease.

Service charges range from tiny amounts to thousands of pounds - there is no average.

ScarletOverkill Tue 22-Mar-16 12:57:59

In my experience when renting the service charge is on top of the rent

NoSquirrels Tue 22-Mar-16 12:59:14

There's no "average" I'm afraid - depends what you're paying for and how the service charges/management is arranged etc etc.

As bookish says, renting and you shouldn't be liable (unless in the terms of your agreement, which would be v. v. unusual) , buying and your solicitor/estate agents should have all this info to hand. If buying my offer would have been taking into consideration the service charge, as it can really affect affordability.

kirinm Tue 22-Mar-16 13:01:07

Do you mean ad hoc maintenance charges? Service charges should've been set out during the conveyancing process?

From what I've read, new builds often have quite high service charges but that is purely anecdotal.

Lilylo Tue 22-Mar-16 13:02:32

Yeah the situation is tricky because the house was bought by DH's family but we will get to live there. So we are not really tenants, as DH's name will be in the deeds. We are moving in a couple of months.

I tried to ask my PILs but they have no idea/ don't remember..

MrsSteptoe Tue 22-Mar-16 13:06:58

At the risk of repeating everyone else, no average. It seems to me, discussing SCs with friends in flats, that in a conversion the SC is typically much cheaper than in a maintained block. Ours is nearly four thousand a year. Other flats near us charge over seven thousand a year. I have friends in a house conversion (massive house, carved up into about five flats) who pay only a hundred a year but their windows have never been maintained and now they've all got totally rotten windows. This is not a good situation, and in any conversion, I would look very carefully indeed at the maintenance of the common parts and take any indicator that the building was neglected as evidence that leaseholders are unwilling to pay for sensible repairs. (NB: When I say neglected, I mean in the sense of proper deterioration - I don't mean shabby.)

NoSquirrels is absolutely spot on in saying that an affordable service charge is an essential part of choosing the right flat for you. Also any upcoming extraordinary works - for example, when we bought our flat, we were aware that the flat roof hadn't been recovered in many years, and that the lift was on its last legs. You should check if the SC is adequate to cover any work of this nature. We've had to fork out a bit extra, because they came at the same time (ish). The lease made it clear that tenants were responsible for bills that exceeded the SC, provided the appropriate Notices were served of works to be done, of course.

NotWithoutMyMerkin Tue 22-Mar-16 13:09:38

Also whether there are lifts makes a huge difference to service charge

Artandco Tue 22-Mar-16 13:11:39

It's £8500 a year here, but we rent so landlord pays it.

That includes gym, pool, communal garden, underground parking, and actual building maintainence. Ie they have redone all the communal stairs and hallway areas the last year, and about 5 years ago all windows replaced with triple glazing

It's high but quiet good for what you get I think. It means owners have no large unexpected costs as a fixed rate every year.

Artandco Tue 22-Mar-16 13:12:27

Oh and the service charge is higher or lower depending on property size

NoSquirrels Tue 22-Mar-16 13:12:48

Your DH/PIL will need to get that information from the managing agents, if they "cannot remember".

Will DH be the one whose name is responsible for the payment, or your PIL? Just get DH to call up and get the paperwork if it's you guys. Otherwise your PIL will need to discuss with you how it will get paid, if they are responsible.

It can be hefty...

EssentialHummus Tue 22-Mar-16 13:12:59

Not sure how helpful it is OP, but my Zone 2 ex-council flat with lift costs £900 p.a. Obviously we don't have a gym, library, terrace etc grin. I think the easiest way to find out might be to phone an estate agent who is/was marketing something in that building.

MrsSteptoe Tue 22-Mar-16 13:13:40

Yes, lifts - I believe it's because they add a lot to the buildings insurance or need a separate insurance policy or something

Also hall porters (haven't got one of those but lots of blocks round here have.)

guerre Tue 22-Mar-16 13:15:41

Contact the management company. Has the purchase gone through? If it has, PIL will already be receiving bills, presumably.

spacehighway Tue 22-Mar-16 13:16:16

Ours is £2600 pa for a flat in a small new build block. That covers lift maintenance, weekly cleaning of communal areas, window cleaning, alarm, intercom, redecoration of communal areas, and a reserve fund. It's well maintained and things like interior repainting are done every few years, and the lift is rarely out of order. But we don't have concierge or communal facilities like gym, terrace etc. Things like that can really push the service charges up.

SwearyGodmother Tue 22-Mar-16 13:28:15

Do you know or can you find out who the management company are? They'll be able to tell you. Alternatively speak to the estate agent? Are there any other flats for sale in the complex - the agents for those should be able to tell you the charge(ish).

We have a similar setup to spacehighway in that we don't have gym/concierge etc but do have the same things covered by our service charge. We pay £1750 per year and the ground floor flats pay slightly less because they don't benefit, and therefore don't pay for, the lift. We're also owner managed so that keeps the costs lower than if we used a professional company. The new flats that are going up around us are many thousands though, which is bonkers to me (think £6-10k per annum).

Lilylo Tue 22-Mar-16 13:32:44

Errr this does not sound good..

The purchase is finalized but the whole compound is still under construction and will be finished in a couple of months.

The development is a large one with 8 towers of around 20 floors each, swimming pool, sauna, residents club, gym and so on.

Oh my, it will rip us off shock

Lilylo Tue 22-Mar-16 13:34:31

"It's £8500 a year here, but we rent so landlord pays it."

artandco your description sounds similar to our development.

£8500??? shockshockshock

guerre Tue 22-Mar-16 13:37:10

Will you have to pay rent to PILs, though? £8k p.a. is still cheaper than London renting.

guerre Tue 22-Mar-16 13:37:34

I know, £8k is obscene, really.

Lilylo Tue 22-Mar-16 13:41:25

I called the management company. Estimated service charge: £4.5 per sqf per annum.

Since our flat is 890 sqf, that amounts to £4000 per annum, or £335 per month shock

Man......

Artandco Tue 22-Mar-16 13:41:40

Yes £8k. It goes up £1-2000 per extra bedroom also. Our pool is old and no porter or reception etc.

But yours sounds far bigger. 8 towers of 20 floors each is a huge huge estate hotel like complex. So hopefully your costs will be divided by far more people. Ours is only one block at 5 floors high

NoSquirrels Tue 22-Mar-16 13:41:51

You need to have the discussion with DH and PIL about who is responsible for paying? What was the agreement when buying - surely this was discussed in some way or other? As others say, it will be cheaper than rent if this is all you're paying for, but obviously it is not free! If you are paying rent to PIL then they'd be factoring this in to what they charge, I presume? Sounds as if none of you have discussed this huge commitment enough?

NoSquirrels Tue 22-Mar-16 13:43:23

Be careful also. "Estimated" means it can go up.

Lilylo Tue 22-Mar-16 13:47:52

NoSquirrels yeah I know, it is tricky cause PILs are Chinese and financial things are not openly discussed in the family.

The agreement is that DP and I will have a £1000 "housing budget" (that is what we can comfortably afford), that will cover bills, council tax and service charge. Whatever will be left out of those £1000 every month will go to PILs as a sort of peppercorn rent.

Since it is very generous of them allowing us to live in their property at such a convenient rate I never feel comfortable enough to ask them further financial details as I don't want to appear greedy/ ungrateful.

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