Homeowners are responsible for paying service charges, rent (or ground rent) and other fees to Hightown.
You can use our online service, MyHightown to check your rent and services charges on your account and see what other charges are associated with your property.
If you are having difficulty accessing this service, please contact the Home Ownership team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01442 292535 to request a rent statement.
Rent and service charge fees are due on the 1st of the month, or in advance. If you'd like to set up a direct debit for the monthly charges, please call the Home Ownership team.
See below for more information about charges & fees
Every property and estate is different but, in general, your service charge covers things like:
- Caretaking (e.g. litter picking, removing dumped items)
- Utilities in shared parts of the building (e.g. electricity/ water)
- Communal Services (e.g. cleaning, window cleaning, grounds maintenance, refuse) in shared parts of the building and/or communal grounds
- Communal Repairs & Maintenance (e.g. fire system/ smoke detection, security, general repairs, maintenance to equipment)
- Professional Services (e.g. Buildings Insurance, Management Fee)
- Contribution to Major Works Fund
Some estates may also pay an External Managing Agent fee - more information is available about this further down this page under 'Management fees'.
Your service charge will be based on how much we expect to spend maintaining your estate in the next year. We calculate this every January and will write to you to let you know how much your service charges will be for the upcoming April-March financial year.
Every year, once the service charge accounts have been audited, we will send you a copy of the accounts and advise you of any surplus or deficit.
Hightown have a set list of administrative fees, which may be applicable to you if you are selling, staircasing, remortgaging, having alterations done on your property, or requesting a copy of your lease.
Hightown uses Trust Funds (also known as Major Works Funds or Sinking Funds) to pay for any major maintenance to your building or estate that is required.
If applicable, part of your monthly charges contributes towards your estate's Trust Fund.
Collecting money for a Trust Fund allows us to spread any significant costs over time, rather than presenting homeowners with a large bill when major works are required.
This money cannot be paid back to you if you sell your home.
Your management fee covers the administration costs we incur in managing your home. This includes things like the cost of employing our staff, managing trust funds, preparing and distributing accounts and managing contracts.
We review our fees every year and try to keep any increases in line with inflation.
If you are a shared owner, you will pay rent to Hightown to cover the share that you do not own. This is based on a percentage of the value of Hightown's share.
We increase rent on an annual basis in line with the Retail Price Index. We typically do this at the start of the financial year; you will receive a letter around February to give you more details. If you pay by direct debit we will adjust your payment when the rent increases.
Leasehold ground rent
Leaseholders who own 100% of their flats are responsible for paying ground rent. Ground rents are fixed and the amount you have to pay will be stated in your lease.
On some estates, the building or land is not owned entirely by Hightown and so Hightown is not the 'freeholder'. In these cases, the freeholder often appoints a Managing Agent to carry out services that are required across the whole development, such as grounds maintenance, estate repairs and lighting.
The Managing Agent's fee and charge for services provided by them is passed on to leaseholders/shared owners as part of your service charge that you pay to Hightown. However, we cannot directly influence the standard of service you receive from a third-party managing agent or landlord.
If you have any problems with the service that the Managing Agent is delivering, you should contact your Home Ownership Officer who will contact the Managing Agent.
Please note that complaints about the service provided by the Managing Agent cannot be referred through Hightown’s complaints process.
If the problem remains then Hightown may escalate the matter further by:
1. Serving a Preliminary Notice advising that consideration is being given to applying to the First-Tier Tribunal for the appointment of a manager – this could lead to a First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) hearing
2. Referring the matter to the First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber)
Most leases allow Hightown to pass the cost of any legal action taken onto leaseholders and shared owners. Hightown would consult with residents before taking any action that could result in costs being passed onto them.
To contact the Home Ownership Team, please email email@example.com or call 01442 292535.