Your charges: explained

Depending on the type of property you have, you will have different charges with B3Living. Scroll down for more information on how and when you’ll be charged, and how we calculate the cost of different services. 

If you have a query about your service charge, please fill in the form below 

Please note: in 2020 we had some feedback from our customers about how we calculate our costs. We have completed a thorough review and some of our calculations have changed.  


Button link to information on how the service charges process works Button link to information on how we calculate our charges Button link to information on how to pay service charges and how refunds work Button link to send in a query about your service charges


The process and timescales

With service charges, the complicated thing is the way the two processes overlap. As a homeowner, you’ll get two statements per year – one with estimated charges and another with the final, “actual” costs.

Service charges change in April every year – following the financial year. But, because of the time it takes to calculate how much was spent in the year that’s just finished and then get those calcuations audited – final costs reach you a few months after the financial year ends.

This is why we can’t tell you how the COVID lockdowns have affected your charges, yet. This will happen in September, when your final accounts are ready.

Below, we’ve included a timeline which sets out how this works, but to summarise:

  1. ARPIL YEAR ONE: We estimate our charges based on previous costs, planned work, inflation, etc. These new charges are applied from 1 April each year. If you have a direct debit with us, we amend it for you, so your payments change from April onwards.
  2. APRIL – MARCH: You pay the estimated charges during the year.
  3. APRIL YEAR TWO: We estimate charges for the next year and we amend your direct debit.
  4. APRIL – SEPTEMBER: We gather all invoices and calculate what we spent in year one. Then we compare this with the original estimates. We send your final accounts to you.
  5. OCTOBER: If you overpaid, you’ll be given a refund by BACS. If you underpaid, we’ll amend your direct debit to cover the difference or, if you pay another way, you’ll need to make a payment.

Click to zoom in

Graphic showing service charging process. Charges estimated in Feb-Mar and estimated service charges apply from April to March the following year. Then between May-Aug B3Living will calculate how much was actually spent and send out final accounts in the September. Meanwhile, new estimated charges will have come in from the April. This graphic shows our service charge years overlap with each other.

If you have a query about your service charges, fill in the form below. We’ll gather all the relevant information and get back to you.

If you’re worried about paying your charges, there are service available to help homeowners. Please keep us in the loop – we can be sensitive to your situation and may be able to offer some help. Click here to see the support options available.

Please give the address of the property - even if this isn't where you live
If different from the property address


How we calculate our costs

This list shows the different services we provide and how we calculate what we need to charge each homeowner. Not all charges will apply to the property you own.

The charges you receive in April will be estimates, using these calculations but based on previous years, forecast spending and other factors (e.g. inflation). In September, the following year, you'll receive a breakdown of how much was actually spent.

The amount of rent you pay depends on:

  • The size of the share you own. Generally, the more shares you own, the lower your rent.
  • The value of your property at the time of the initial purchase.
  • Annual inflation rate.

This charge covers repairs in communal areas of your block (hallways, entrance doors, etc).

This cost does vary from year to year depending on what we need to fix, but the overall charge is divided evenly across all households in the block.

We will typically go through a consultation process (known as a ‘Section 20 consultation’) before doing any large repairs and maintenance work - find out more about this process here.

Sometimes it isn’t possible to go through a consultation process (for example if the work is urgent) and in those cases any cost to our customers would be capped at £250 per household for each repair.

Your management fee covers the costs involved in coordinating all our other services.

What’s included:

  • Arranging and managing the contracts.
  • Acquiring services – for example, insurance.
  • Checking and paying invoices.
  • Managing queries.
  • Checking the quality of our services – for example, through surveyor visits.
  • Admin costs – mainly in our Leasehold team, but also some other departments such as Finance.

Caretaking charges cover the cleaning we do in shared area – usually this in hallways, stairs, landings, bin areas, etc.

What the charges covers:

  • The caretaking staff we employ
  • Running the caretaking vans / other vehicles
  • Cleaning materials
  • PPE
  • Collecting rubbish

Grounds maintenance charges cover the maintenance we do outside your block, in any shared gardens, grounds or verges.

What the charges covers:

  • The grounds maintenance staff we employ
  • Running the grounds maintenance vans / vehicles
  • Tools and PPE
  • Grass cutting, pruning, weeding, clearing dog waste
  • Our contracts with Borough of Broxbourne Council for grass cutting (in some areas) and forestry

If you live in a block of apartments, there can be a charge for servicing any fire equipment. This covers the cost of maintaining safety kit such as:

  • Emergency lighting
  • Automated smoke vents
  • Fire alarms
  • Dry risers

You may not notice it happening, but this equipment is tested regularly – some yearly, others at least four times per year.

The contractor we use to service our fire equipment is SGN. (But please direct any queries to B3Living.)

If you live in a block of apartments, your block will also be inspected for fire safety risks every year. They identify any risks and give B3Living recommendations. Though they are related, a fire risk assessment is a separate activity from maintaining fire safety equipment (see above), so these charges are separate.

Our contractor for fire risk assessments is Oakleaf(But please direct any queries to B3Living.)

These charges cover the cost of heating and lighting in shared hallways, stairways, entrances, etc. The lighting charges could also cover the power to any:

  • CCTV
  • Lifts
  • Door entry systems

For some customers, these costs also include heating inside your flat.

If you live in a block of apartments, our charges will usually include the cost of buildings insurance and any public liability insurance.  Our charge doesn’t include any contents insurance, which you will have with your own insurance provider.

If there is a lift in your block, it is will be serviced regularly and repaired if it breaks down.

We also employ a separate specialist consultant to check the work that our lift servicing and maintenance contractor does.

Our charge for lifts covers both services.

From April 2020, our contractor for servicing and maintaining lifts is Summit Elevators.  Their work is monitored by our consultant, Cundalls. (But please direct any queries to B3Living.)

If your property is a flat, it’s likely that you will have access to a shared digital TV aerial. Whether you choose to use the aerial or not, there is a cost for maintaining it and making it available for everyone in your block.

Our TV aerials are maintained by SCCI Alpha track Ltd. (But please direct any queries to B3Living.)

Some B3Living blocks, but not many, have water pumps fitted. Your charge covers the cost of servicing and maintaining these twice per year.

Our contractor for water pump maintenance is Wilo UK. (But please direct any queries to B3Living.)

Our window cleaning charge only covers the cost of cleaning outside, communal windows (e.g. in hallways) above the ground floor. Ground floor windows are cleaned by our caretakers.

Our contractor for window cleaning is Walker Cleaning and Maintenance. (But please direct any queries to B3Living.)