Questions and answers:

Please note: the information on this page is not relevant for residents living in a home that was previously managed by Optivo.

This is a legal notice under the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 as amended.

We are required to issue this notice if we are unable to produce the actual accounts within 18 months of incurring service chargeable costs.

Service charges are costs for communal services such as but not limited to: cleaning, grounds maintenance and utilities that Southern Housing provide to your estate/block/property.

There are two types of service charges:

  1. Fixed service charge

    A Fixed Service Charge is invoiced ahead of the financial year, predominantly in February /March effective 1st April.

    These are estimated costs relating to services being delivered on the estate/building in which your property is situated.

    The costs passed on to you do not change therefore if Southern Housing have spent more than estimated they will absorb any deficit.

  2. Variable service charge

    A Variable Service Charge is also invoiced ahead of the financial year, predominantly in February/March effective 1st April.

    These are estimated costs relating to services being delivered on the estate/building in which your property is situated. However, if you receive a variable service charge you should expect to receive a final account within 18 months of the cost being incurred.

    This is more commonly referred to as an actual account or year-end statement and is ordinarily expected to be with you no later than 30 September for the previous financial year.

Year-end service charge accounts list the actual costs incurred in providing communal services to your estate/block/property and the difference between actual spend and what was estimated.

Year-end service charge accounts are calculated by comparing the actual costs of providing the communal services compared to what we estimated for the same period.

If the actual costs are higher than the estimated costs, there will be an additional charge known as a deficit.

However, if actual costs are lower then you will receive a refund/credit.

A S20B2 Notice is a legal requirement notifying you that we require additional time to finalise the validation of the actual cost expenditure and notify you of the outcome.

The amount shown on the letter is costs that have so far been associated to your estate/block/property, however this expenditure is still subject to a validation process and may change as a result.

This is at present the best guide we can share with you.

This letter is NOT a demand for payment and does not include the estimates which you will have been paying towards in the year.

The way the difference between the estimated cost and actual cost is refunded or charged will be different depending on whether you are a resident renting a property from us or a homeowner/leaseholder.

 

  • If renting a property from us:

    Under the terms of your tenancy agreement any refund or charge will be applied to your service charge payments in the year after the actual costs have been finalised.

    Any refund or charge will therefore be applied to your estimated service charges in 2024-25.

  • If you're a homeowner or leaseholder:

    Once the year accounts have been finalised, we will send you a personalised booklet that will show if there has been an underspend or overspend in 2022-23 and the resulting charge or refund applicable to your property.

There are several reasons that have prevented the accounts being validated on time.

We have had some staff turnover following the merger and have also experienced some systems issues.

We are working hard to try and resolve both these scenarios.

When you'll receive your actual service charge account will depend on whether you are a resident renting a property from us or a homeowner/leaseholder.

 

  • If renting a property from us:

    Early next year we will send you your personalised service charge booklet that will show both the estimated costs for 2024-25 and a statement of the actual service charges for 2022-23 and the resulting refund or charge for this period.

  • If you're a homeowner or leaseholder:

    Once the year end accounts have been reviewed, finalised and certified by the external examiners we will send you a personalised booklet which will provide all information relating to your year-end accounts for 2022-23. At present we cannot provide a date, but we hope to achieve this as soon as possible.

We are trying to share as much meaningful information with you as possible and have therefore included a breakdown of all services in your estate/block.

You are only responsible for your individual share for the estate/block.

The total cost on the draft account is NOT your share of the costs.

The list of expenses include all services we provide, you may or may not contribute towards these services.

We will write to you later in the year to let you know the final cost and associated services for your estate/block and at that point we will let you know your final share.

Although the heading in the letter states “Actual cost for 2022/2023” the cost and services still need to be validated.

The letter you've received regarding your year-end service charge accounts for 2022-23 is NOT a demand for payment.

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