Guidance on the cost of services we provide to help maintain your home and communal areas. This includes information about how and when to pay your service charge as well as our responsibilities as your landlord.

About service charges

A service charge covers the cost of the services we provide and the management of those services, like repairs and maintenance of your home, communal lighting, gardening and caretaking.

You pay a variable service charge. This means service charges can change from year to year based on the ‘actual’ costs of providing these services. You’ll be asked to pay your service charge within six months after the financial year-end (5 April) as described in your lease.

We work out how much your service charge will be by looking at how much the services cost in the previous financial year. We then charge you a reasonable proportion of the costs of those services. 

How to pay your service charge

You can pay securely over the phone by calling 0300 456 9996.  

Service charges in arrear

If your lease requires you to pay service charges ‘in arrear’, service charges will need to be paid within 30 days of receiving your annual service charge ‘actuals’ statement.

You should receive the statement within six months after the financial year-end (5 April).  

Service charges in advance

If your lease requires you to pay service charges ‘in advance’, an estimated service charge will be sent to you at least 30 days before the financial year begins (6 April).

The estimated charge will need to be paid in the frequency and dates stated in your lease, for example, monthly or quarterly.

You should receive an actual statement within six months after the financial year-end (5 April) where we’ll report the income we’ve received and the ‘actual’ expenditure within the previous financial year.

You’ll then be charged a reasonable proportion of the costs of those services or refunded any excess.

Alternatively, the balance may be carried over to the next financial year, as per the terms of your lease.

If you have a service charge query, you can speak to a member of the Service Charge team on 0300 456 9996.  

Help if you can't pay your service charge

If you can't pay your service charge, please contact us as soon as you get into difficulties.

To speak to one of our team, please call our Service Charge team on 0300 456 9996.

We’re here to help, and we want to make sure you get the support you need. If you’re struggling to pay your service charge, please visit our support with budgeting and debt page to see what help and advice is available to get you back on track.

Our responsibility as a landlord

Service charges

  • we’ll tell you how we work out service charges, the various ways you can pay and give you advice and help if you fall behind with payments
  • we’ll give you an invoice for your service charges every year. The invoice will clearly state the services you’re being charged for
  • we’ll provide major works account statements on request
  • we’ll make sure your property has buildings insurance. You’ll continue to be responsible for insuring your home contents


  • we'll provide a service charge account statement on request
  • we'll contact you within 28 days if your account falls into arrears
  • we'll agree to reduce arrears via a payment plan and explain the payment options available to you
  • we'll offer welfare benefits and money management advice

The benefits of service charges

Service charges help us recover the costs for providing the services required under the terms of your lease.

They help us maintain your building and keep communal areas in repair, including grounds maintenance, caretaking, communal lighting and door entry systems.

These services help to improve your home and maintain a high-quality communal living environment for all our residents.  

Buildings insurance

As your landlord, we provide building insurance for your leasehold property in case of accidental loss, destruction or damage to the block from fire, a flood or an earthquake.

Buildings insurance is an annual charge based on the cost of rebuilding your property and we recharge this to you.

You can call us on 0300 456 9996 to request a copy of your building insurance cover.

We don’t provide building insurance for freehold properties, so you’ll need to arrange insurance yourself.

Please be aware; that building insurance doesn’t cover your belongings. You’ll need to buy contents insurance to cover any damage or theft of your belongings.

If you sublet your property, you’re not covered for loss of rent in case of emergency.

Items on your statement

It’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the terms often used when discussing service charges, so you know what they mean and how they may impact you.

  • Building insurance
    If you're a leaseholder or shared owner of an L&Q-owned property, your home is likely to be covered by L&Q’s group insurance policy.

    From April 2023, the annual building insurance premium for your home under this policy is rising to £260.00.

    This is an increase of £40.00 compared with the premium for the 2022/23 year.

    The increase is in line with the national House Rebuilding Cost index and is higher than the increases we have seen in recent years.

    However, by insuring our properties collectively under a single policy, we're still able to deliver lower premiums than we would otherwise be able to obtain by insuring each building individually.

    Therefore, there is a cost-benefit to our homeowners by continuing to be insured under L&Q’s policy.
  • Building monitoring
    We've recently installed building monitoring equipment into many of our blocks.

    This equipment will enable proactive, early, detection of faults with facilities, including fire alarms and communal heating systems.

    This will benefit our residents as the system aims to identify faults as soon as they occur and notify us, with the aim of making the process more efficient.

    As a result, there is a small servicing cost included in your service charges.

    Please note that we carried out the installation of the equipment at no cost to you.
  • Building safety
    The building safety cost has been introduced because of new building safety measures required by the Building Safety Act 2022. These measures are required on all buildings that are over 18 metres or seven storeys in height.

    The building safety measures that fall within the new building safety costs are detailed in the Landlord and Tenant Act. They are:
    • applying for registration of a higher-risk building
    • applying for a building assessment certificate
    • displaying a building assessment certificate
    • assessing building safety risks
    • managing building safety risks
    • preparing and revising a building safety case report
    • notifying and providing the regulator with building safety case reports
    • implementing a mandatory occurrence reporting system
    • giving information to the regulator
    • keeping data and documents required by the Building Safety Act
    • giving info and docs to any person in accordance with the Building Safety Act
    • complying with duties relating to residents’ engagement strategy
    • establishing and operating a system for the investigation of building safety complaints
    • requesting to enter the premises
    • issuing contravention notices to a resident
    • application to the county court costs
    • costs incurred in connection with implementing the above requirements, including legal and other professional fees
    • fees payable to the Building Safety Regulator and management costs. 
    These costs are not those associated with remediating building defects, as leaseholders are protected from much of those costs. However, the Building Safety Act 2022 set out new duties, for building owners such as L&Q, which came into force in 2023
  • Caretaking costs
    If your home benefits from the services of a scheduled caretaking service, you may see two lines for this on your service charge breakdown from April 2023.

    There may be a Caretaking (External) charge, set at ‘Scheme’ or ‘Estate’ level on your statement, to represent the cost of exterior works provided by your Caretaking team. If you live in a flat or maisonette, you may also see a charge at ‘Block’ level on your statement for the services to the internal areas of your building.

    In previous years’ statements, you would've seen a separate line for Caretakers’ Cleaning Supplies. Please note that this cost has now been absorbed into the main Caretaking headings within your service charge.
  • Dry riser servicing/maintenance
    As part of building compliance, we need to service and maintain dry riser systems that serve our properties.

    If your block benefits from a dry riser system, you'll see a service charge for this facility.

    In previous years we included these costs within the headings of 'Fire Protection Equipment Servicing' and 'Maintenance'.
  • Electrical testing
    To comply with health and safety legislation, we're obliged to carry out testing of all electrical intake points into your building.

    You would have always been liable to pay for the service, but in previous years we've chosen not to charge you. We'll now charge a fixed rate to all residents for this service.

    Please note that the electrical testing is charged to your building regardless of whether there is a separate landlord's supply.
  • Energy costs: communal electricity, external electricity, communal gas consumption
    The rates of communal electricity and gas consumption in our residents’ service charges will increase on average by 50% from April 2023.

    If we provide communal energy to the building where you live or to external areas around your home, you're likely to see a rise in these headings on your next service charge breakdown.

    The rate of increase is high, but it is lower than the current trend in energy cost rises across the UK.

    We employ energy consultants to obtain preferential tariffs from our suppliers, and this helps to protect you from the full impact of prices on the open market.
  • Equipment telephone lines
    This heading is for the cost of telephone lines connected to equipment in your building or on your estate.

    Equipment may include items such as lifts, door entry systems, or CCTV systems.

    In previous years, the line charges were included under the main headings for these services on your statement.
  • Fire extinguishers and blankets servicing/maintenance
    As part of building compliance, we need to service and maintain fire extinguishers and fire blankets located in the communal areas of our buildings.

    If your block benefits from extinguishers or blankets, you'll see a service charge for them.

    In previous years we included these costs within the headings of 'Fire Protection Equipment Servicing' and 'Maintenance'.
  • Fire protection equipment servicing/maintenance
    We've created new service charge headings for various elements related to fire protection as above, to make your statements clearer and more transparent.

    You may still have headings under Fire Protection Equipment: these relate to the servicing and maintenance of fire alarms, smoke and heat detectors, and automatic opening ventilation systems.
  • Fire risk assessment
    If your building is subject to periodic assessment for fire risk, we've included a small charge as a contribution towards the cost of this statutory service.

    The cost to residents is £1 per month or 23 pence per week.
  • Managing agent costs
    You may live in an L&Q property where some or all services are provided by a third-party management company rather than directly by our staff, contractors, and suppliers.

    When a separate management company provides services, you'll see a heading of managing agent costs on your service charge statement, along with the expected cost of their services for the year.

    If you're a homeowner, you may see two lines on your statement – one for managing agent costs and the other for managing agent costs.
  • Mobile caretaking
    We have several teams of multi-skilled operatives who provide a mobile service across L&Q’s estates.

    They don't work to a rota, but will visit sites as requested by the Property Manager, usually following estate inspections.

    The mobile teams carry out general caretaking duties. This may include carrying out minor repairs in communal areas or undertaking supplementary communal cleaning or grounds maintenance when needed.

    We levy a small annual charge for the mobile service. All residents on our managed estates pay this charge.

    Even if you live in a house, you may pay for mobile caretaking if we provide external services to the communal areas of the street or estate where you live.

    You can request a visit from the mobile team via your Property Manager.
  • Water testing
    Like electrical testing, this is a fixed rate service charge to cover our cost of statutory testing of shared water supplies and storage tanks.

    Water testing is another health and safety requirement that we carry out to detect and eliminate issues such as legionella.
  • Wet risers and sprinklers servicing/maintenance
    As part of building compliance, we need to service and maintain sprinkler and wet riser systems that serve our properties.

    If your block benefits from one of these systems, you'll see a service charge for this facility.

    In previous years we included these costs within the headings of 'Fire Protection Equipment Servicing' and 'Maintenance'.

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