Housing Associations: Service Charges

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities written question – answered on 15th November 2021.

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Photo of Lucy Powell Lucy Powell Shadow Secretary of State for Housing

To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the (a) value for money of service charges collected by housing associations and (b) adequacy of the rights of tenants to challenge those charges.

Photo of Eddie Hughes Eddie Hughes Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

The Government believes very strongly that service charges should be transparent and communicated effectively. All service charges must be set in line with the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, with service charges payable only when the costs are reasonable. The law is clear that service charges and any increase in costs must be reasonable and, where costs relate to work or services, the work or services must be of a reasonable standard. This applies equally to social housing tenants.

The Government's policy statement on rents for social housing (published in February 2019) encourages registered providers of social housing to keep increases for services charges within CPI+1% per annum, to help keep charges affordable.

We also believe that there should be a clear route to challenge or redress if things go wrong. Both leaseholders and social housing tenants have the ability to apply to the Property Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal for a determination where they do not believe the charges are reasonable, and must be consulted when major works are being proposed.

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