The Dulwich Estate

Service Charges

Many leases require the lessee to pay a service charge to cover the Estate's costs and expenses of carrying out repairs and maintenance, and other works, which will be set out in the lease itself. In the case of houses which have been enfranchised (i.e. are now freehold and subject to the Scheme of Management), any liability to contribute to a service charge (for example, for the upkeep of the amenity area), is perpetuated by the Scheme.

The lease will state if the service charge is payable quarterly in advance, in which case a budget is prepared of the expected annual expenditure, with a balancing payment to be paid or refunded once the accounts are certified.

If the service charge is payable quarterly in arrears, the charge will reflect the actual expenditure in the preceding quarter. The Estate's service charge year runs from 1 April to 31 March, (except for Garvens, where the service charge year runs from 1 January) and the certified accounts are sent out, generally in June.

Under the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002, the Estate is required to have consultation with lessees if the cost of any works is going to exceed £250 per lessee.

The first step of this consultation process is the serving of a Notice of Intention on lessees informing them of the proposal to carry out the works and to invite nominations for contractors to be included in the tender for the contract. If the Estate is satisfied that the contractor nominated is suitable for the type of contract, it will be included in the tender process.

The second step is the serving of a Notice of Estimates on lessees. This Notice will give details of the estimates received from the contractors. If there is a recognised Residents' Association, a copy of the specification will also be sent to its chairman. We invite lessees to make observations on the estimates, and the Estate is legally obliged to take these into account before placing the contract for the works.

Before starting the consultation process, the Estate will have been in contact with the Residents' Association to advise of the proposed works and to address any issues which may be of concern.