Update on your service charge for 2021-2022
We’re currently experiencing a delay in calculating the leasehold estimated service charges for 2021/2022 and the actual service charges for 2020/2021.
We apologise for this delay and thank you for your patience whilst we prepare:
- the estimated budget for 2021/2022,
- actual service charge accounts for the year 2020/2021; and
- the 2021/2022 direct debit details.
Please contact us if you have any general enquiries regarding your home. For example:
- Selling your flat
- Applying for an equity release loan and/or re-mortgaging your flat within the first years of your ownership
- Thinking of extending your lease
- Requesting permission for a pet
- Making alterations
- Sub-letting your flat
- Making a complaint about the anti-social behaviour of neighbours
- Making a complaint
- Updating your correspondence details held by us.
Winchester City Council
Telephone: 01962 848 396.
Your lease is a legal document that explains your rights and responsibilities as a leaseholder (or lessee) and the relationship between you and us, as the freeholder of your home. It is an important document.
If you don’t have a copy you can ask your conveyancer for one. Alternatively, you can order one from the Land Registry. For more details, see the Land Registry website
Your lease sets out your rights and responsibilities, and your conveyancer will have explained the terms of your lease before you bought your home. If you have any questions your conveyancer or our Leasehold team will be able to help you.
You can obtain information about your lease from the Leasehold Advisory Service, an independent advice service at the lease advice website
Your lease requires you to pay an annual rent to the Council. The annual rent does not go up, it remains the same each year.
Each year before the annual rent is payable the Council will send you a rent demand notice telling you when the annual rent must be paid by and how much you have to pay.
Service charges and repairs
Your flat is part of a building.
You are responsible for keeping the interior of you flat in repair at your own cost. This includes the glass in the windows, internal doors, any non-load bearing walls.
Generally the Council will be responsible for keeping the main structure of the building in repair. This includes the roof, foundations, main external walls, external window frames, internal communal areas, stairs, hallways and lifts, car parks, footpaths leading to the building, grassed and planted areas.
The Council recovers the costs of these works through the service charge. As a flat owner you will pay a service charge. Details of the service charge are set out in your lease. Each year the Council will send you an annual service invoice.
Details of how to pay are set out in the invoice.
If you need to report a repair please contact:
- Customer Service Centre on 01962 848 400 (Monday - Thursday 8:30am - 5:00pm, Friday 8:30am – 4:30pm)
- Out of hours emergencies only - 01962 865 405
Gas safety checks
It is recommended that you have all gas appliances in your home checked/serviced regularly by a qualified gas engineer to ensure that they are safe to use and meet current regulations. You are not required to provide the Council with a copy of your gas safety certificate.
If you sub-let your property and it is equipped with gas appliances, as the landlord you must comply with the current law. This requires you to keep the equipment in repair, arrange annual safety checks by qualified experts, and supply copies of the safety certificates to your tenant. You must also keep accurate records of the results of all safety checks. You are not required to provide the Council with a copy of the gas safety certificate.
You can find our more by looking at the Government’s webpage that gives advice to landlords who let residential property:
Right to Buy service charge loans
In April 2020 the Government issued new guidance for leaseholders who may be eligible for a loan to help pay service charges in respect of repairs and improvements.
The full guidance will be found in the link below. Key points to note are:
- To be eligible, you must have purchased your flat since 6 April 2010
- The loan takes the form of a right to leave the service charge outstanding for a specific period. It is in effect, a second mortgage. Therefore before applying, you must speak to your mortgage lender to ensure they agree
- You have the right to a loan when your annual service charge totals £1500 or more
- The loan must be for more than £500 and you can borrow a maximum of £20,000.
The Government updates its guidance each year and the Council will update this part of the website once any new guidance is issued. Further information can be found here
The Council insures the building in which your flat is located for the insured risks listed in your lease. Currently this includes flood damage caused by burst pipes in neighbouring properties. A summary of cover provided by this policy will be found here.
When to contact the Council?
- If your property suffers damage or
- If you see any damage to the block your flat is in.
The Council will liaise with you and the insurance company to see if your claim is covered by the policy, and assist you in dealing with any agreed claim.
You will pay your share of the cost of this policy through the service charge.
The Council’s insurance policy does not cover damage to your personal belongings such as your furniture, internal fittings and white goods. You must arrange your own insurance cover for your belongings and you should discuss this with a registered insurance broker.
Extending your lease
You have the right to extend your lease under the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 (the 1993 Act).
The right is to add 90 years to what is left on your existing lease at a peppercorn rent. For example, if there are 80 years left on your lease, the new extended lease would be for 170 years.
You will have to pay the Council a premium for the lease extension. The formula for calculating the premium is set out in the 1993 Act.
If you are interested in extending your lease a good place to find out about the process is the website of the Leasehold Advisory Service:
There is nothing to stop you negotiating the cost of an extension with the Council without following the 1993 Act.
The following are the steps that the Council with take whether you use the 1993 Act or not. To be able to negotiate with you the Council will:
- Instruct a specialist surveying firm to advise it on the current market price of extending your lease using the formula set out in the 1993 Act
- Use this firm to negotiate with your surveyor or you
- Agree a price
- Instruct its legal team to deal with legal work
- Ask you or your conveyancer to give an undertaking to pay the Council’s legal and surveyor’s costs whether or not the matter completes.
The Council recommends that you:
- Take the advice of a specialist surveyor on the current market value cost of the lease extension
- Instruct a conveyancer to deal with advising you on the process, completion of a Stamp Duty Land Tax Return, getting any lenders approval, and make the application to the Land Registry to register your new lease.