What you pay for
Depending on the type of home you own, you'll pay rent, service charges, management and administration costs.
Rent is only paid to us by shared owners who own a share of their home (normally between 25% and 75%) and pay rent on the rest.
The rent you pay is usually fixed as a percentage of the part of the property that you didn’t buy (the unsold equity). For example, if your home is worth £150,000 and you own a 50% share, the part you didn’t purchase is worth £75,000 (50% of £150,000). If your rent is fixed at 2% of the unsold equity, you would pay 2% of £75,000 which equals £1,500 per year (£125 per month). Your rent will then increase annually in line with a formula written into your lease agreement. This is usually linked to RPI (the Retail Price Index). If you purchase additional shares in your home, your rent will reduce in proportion to the amount you purchase.
If you purchase your home from an existing shared owner (this is called taking an assignment of their lease), the rent will continue at the same level as the previous owner paid. This is because you're legally taking on the responsibilities contained in the original lease which includes the rent.
Ground rent is usually paid annually by leaseholders. Your legal documentation will set out whether or not you pay ground rent. Where this is the case, we'll issue you with a demand for payment.
If we provide you with shared services, such as cleaning, lighting to communal areas or maintaining the grounds of shared gardens, you will be asked to pay a service charge.
The total cost for these services is divided into individual contributions payable by each homeowner. The terms of your lease or freehold documentation will detail what costs will be included.
If you have an apartment, the service charge will also include your contribution to the cost of maintaining the structure of the building and keeping common areas, such as halls and stairways in good repair.
The service charge is normally collected monthly with your other payments. We set the charge by estimating the total cost of providing the services over a 12 month period. If charges are too low to cover costs, we normally recover the shortfall through the next year’s charge. If we're left with a money at the end of the year, we'll take this off the new charge.
If you're a leaseholder, your lease may allow us to share out the total cost to leaseholders by any method that we consider reasonable. This is supported by legislation that requires landlords to set charges in a reasonable manner. Alternatively, the lease may specify a particular method of charging, for example dividing the charge by the number of flats (and houses) in a block (or estate).
Your lease, freehold or legal agreement sets out how we divide up charges between flats or houses.
What's included in the service charge?
Although the lease or freehold documents will set out what is or can be included in the service charge, below are some of the most common service charge items:
- Lifts. The total annual cost of repairs, maintenance, insurance and depreciation for the lift in your block.
Cleaning and upkeep. The cost of providing a cleaning service.
- Door entry systems. This is the cost of maintaining and replacing a door entry system and will vary according to the type of installation in your block.
- TV aerial. The cost of providing a communal TV installation to the block, including replacement, depreciation and electricity.
- Estate roads, drains, street lighting, storm water and sewage pumping stations. The charge covers repairs, maintenance, replacement and power supply. This only applies to roads and installations that are private, in other words, have not been adopted by the local authority.
- Garden/landscaping maintenance. This is the cost of the contract and other work needed to maintain communal landscaping, car parking, road sweeping and removal of refuse on an estate.
- Central heating/hot water. This only applies where heating and hot water are supplied from a central boiler. Costs will include a contribution to the actual heating and hot water costs for your own apartment and any heating or hot water provided to common parts.
- Building insurance. Where we are required under the terms of the lease or freehold documentation to insure your building and review the charge annually.
- Window cleaning. Where provided, this will be for the cleaning of windows located in the common parts.
- Day-to-day repairs, these relate to the costs of carrying out minor repair works to communal areas and the main structure.
Depending on the services you receive from us you will pay:
A management fee
This is for our expenses of providing a property management service for your building and estate, arranging buildings insurance, providing public liability insurance, managing homeowner’s accounts, costs of the homeownership team including staffing, office and IT costs, central organisation costs and complying with Homes England regulations.
An administration charge
This is based on percentage of the cost of invoiced works carried out by contractors. This is for the costs incurred by LiveWest in administering these items of work or services, of consulting with residents, setting up and monitoring contracts, managing works and contractors, processing invoices.
A fee for additional services
Sometimes you may have a request which we'll need to charge you for as it is not covered by the management fee or administration charge. Click on Additional charges to see what this could include.
Reserve Funds, sometimes known as ‘sinking funds’, are saving arrangements to fund repairs carried out by LiveWest, which you’re responsible for under the terms of your lease or other legal agreement. It’s intended to smooth out the cost of future works and to ensure there are funds in place when needed. These works will be delivered as part of a planned programme and are typically:
- routine painting and decoration
- roofing works
- window and door replacement
- replacement door entry systems
- replacement fire alarm systems
- external repairs to the building
- improvements to communal areas and parking areas.
The fund won’t cover the cost of day to day responsive repairs. These will be paid through your service charge each year.
For more information on reserve funds please see our 'What is a reserve fund?' leaflet, under Homeowners leaflets in our leaflet rack.
To see your current balance and download a statement, log in to your account.