Service charges for council leaseholders

Service charges are payable under the terms and conditions of your lease agreement.

There are two types of service charges you may receive as a leaseholder.

  • Routine Annual Service Charge bill (payable each year)
  • Major Works bill (payable where works are carried out)

Routine annual service charge bill

As a leaseholder, the management of your property is the responsibility of the housing department. We are obliged to provide certain routine services. 

If you are a 125-year leaseholder, we (as landlord) are obliged to provide you with certain routine services and to charge you for those services. 

You will be sent an annual service charge bill for these service costs (also known as a routine service charge bill). 

Included in the annual service charge

The most common type of lease is a two-tier lease, which applies to flats in blocks on housing estates. It contains two percentages, one for the estate and the other for block. These services include:

Routine annual service charges

Estate costs: Emergency response service (WEC) and estate cleaning, lighting, repairs and garden maintenance.

Block costs: Block cleaning, electricity, repairs, paladins, lift repairs and running costs, building insurance and the council's contribution fund, management expenses and minor works commissioning fee.

  • These charges/costs do not include lighting and works to adopted public roads, paths and footways running through the estate.
  • We insure the block (this does not include inside your property; you are strongly advised to seek contents insurance). Additionally, to keep building insurance charges down, we maintain a contribution fund for smaller repairs under £50,000.
  • We are not responsible for repairs inside your home. If we carry out emergency works in your home to prevent damage to the block we will recharge these costs to you.

For more information about your services charges, see service charges explained booklet.

Why service charges differ between properties

Services charges are calculated by a block percentage. This is arrived at on the basis of the Gross Rateable Value of your property as a proportion of the total of all the gross rateable values of the properties in the block.

Calculation for the same block

For example, a three bedroom flat will have a higher block percentage than a one bedroom flat in the same block.  

Calculation for another block

For example, there may be 20 flats in your block and 40 flats in the neighbouring block. For this reason the block percentages will be different.

Major works bill 

You may also be sent a separate major works bill if your property, the block or estate has recently, or is still undergoing major works or external decorations.

Included in your major works bill

Generally, leaseholders are consulted before major works are carried out and will be sent an estimate. The major works programme includes things like new roofing, windows and external decoration etc. 

The major works bill will be sent separately from your routine annual service charge bill. 

The bill has:

  • a summary of estimated costs of works (with the proportion you have to pay)
  • an invoice for the works
  • audited final account - this is the final full cost of the programmed works. Once the actual amount has been calculated, you will be notified. This shows the difference between the estimate and actual amounts.

Queries about your bill

For queries about service charge contributions, breakdown of costs or ‘Notice of Leasehold Regulations’ letter, contact your area team:

  • Central Area: 020 8871 5333 
  • Eastern Area: 020 8871 7439 
  • Southern Area: 020 8871 7482
  • Western Area: 020 8871 5530
  • If you are unsure what team you are in: 020 8871 8327

For queries about how the block percentage is calculated, call 020 8871 7282 or email

For any other queries about your bill, call 020 3830 1900 or email

Independent financial advice

If you would like independent advice about managing your money, debts or universal credit or benefits, you can contact the Money Advice Service on free phone 0300 500 5000.

Ways to pay your bill

There are ways in which we can help you to spread the cost of your service charge or major works bill.

Pay your bill