A service charge relates to the common areas and shared areas of your building.
If you occupy a ‘multi-occupancy’ building (one which you share with other organisations), then there are areas of that building you all use, called common areas.
For example, the main entrance, reception area, lifts and toilets would all be common areas. All the organisations in the building pay a share of the cost of the upkeep of the common areas, for example, for cleaning and maintenance. These are called service charges.
However, if you occupy a ‘single occupancy’ building (meaning there are no other tenants sharing it) you may still have a service charge, for example, where there is a ‘superior landlord’. In some cases, NHS Property Services does not own the building that you occupy, but we lease it from a third party, known as the ‘superior landlord’ and we pass on their costs for the repair and maintenance of the building.
If the superior landlord owns more than one building on your site, there could be common areas outside. This could include the car park, estate road or landscaping and security. You may be charged a service charge for your share of the cost of maintaining these areas.
Sometimes, you might see cleaning, maintenance or other charges listed twice on your bill and if this has happened, it’s probably because one is a service charge relating to the common areas and one is a facilities management charge, relating to your exclusive area.