Service charges

Your charges explained…

Many customers currently pay a charge in addition to rent which covers communal services like cleaning and grounds maintenance, and we understand that the quality and cost of these services is important to customers.

Following a thorough review in response to customer feedback, from April 2021 we made some changes to the way we set service charges.

Onward is committed to ensuring that service charges offer the best value for money possible. We would like to assure customers that the changes we introduce mean that what you pay remains closely related to the services you benefit from.

We will make it clear what services customers are being charged for and how much they cost. In February 2022 customers will receive a personalised service charge breakdown for 2022/23.

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Please get in touch on 0300 555 0600 if you have any questions not answered here.    

Our Financial Inclusion team is also available if you have affordability concerns or other money worries which we may be able to support with. 

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is a service charge?

Your service charge covers the cost of services provided to your scheme, neighbourhood and personal charges in relation to your home.

2. How is my charge calculated?

The charge is calculated annually based on the cost of services for the previous year and estimated costs for the coming year. Charges are shared equally between all of the customers who benefit from the services.

3. What items are chargeable?

All of the services we charge for are listed in our FAQs with an explanation of what they cover. However, not all of the services listed are provided where you live and these services will not be included in your charge.

4. I claim Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. Will it cover all of my service charge?

Not all services are eligible for Housing Benefit/Universal Credit, which may mean you will have to pay for a shortfall. Please contact your benefits provider to check whether all services are covered. If you’re still unsure, please contact our Financial Inclusion team on financialinclusionteam@onward.co.uk or 0300 555 0600.

5. What if I can’t afford the changes to my service charge?

For the few customers who see a significant change to their service charge and are worried, we encourage you to contact our Financial Inclusion team. We can offer support to help with your finances or support in helping you find employment, so please get in touch.

6. How do you know if customers are happy with the services they pay for?

We regularly seek feedback from customers about our services. For example, our latest customer satisfaction survey told us that customers were not particularly happy with our gardening, cleaning and window cleaning services. Following this feedback, we carried out a more detailed survey to hear what customers really want from these services.

The results have helped us to develop new service standards, and in January 2021 we appointed new gardening contractors. During the first half of 2022 we will also appoint new cleaning and window cleaning contractors. We will closely monitor the performance of our new contractors and we welcome your feedback.