Charges and Fees

Customers are responsible for paying rent (or ground rent), service charges, and other fees to Plumlife.

You can use our online service MyPlumlife to check your account, view your statement and see what charges are associated with your property.

Log in to the Plumlife customer portal

If you own or rent a Plumlife property, register then login to access our services online.

If you are having difficulty accessing this service, you can call 0161 447 5158 to request a statement of your account.

Most of our rents and service charges are due monthly and in advance on the first day of the month, although there a few developments which require quarterly or half-yearly payments in advance. If you haven't set up a direct debit with Plumlife yet, you can learn about alternative ways to pay.

Shared ownership rents

If you are a shared owner, you will pay rent to Plumlife to cover the share of your property that you do not own. This is based on a percentage of the value of Plumlife's share.

Your rent is reviewed each year —as set out in the terms of your lease agreement — and you need to check this regularly.

Rents usually increase in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI) — at a given point in the year. This usually happens on 1 April but can vary. Some leases will ask you to pay for an additional percentage increase on top of the RPI.

If your rent is going to change, we will let you know and give you at least one month's notice.

If you pay by direct debit, we will adjust your payment for you.

Ground rent

As a leaseholder, your landlord may ask you to pay ground rent. The amount you need to pay and when you need to pay will be set out in your lease.

The amount you pay may change over time. Some ground rents are fixed for the term on the lease, so in real terms they will go down, while others can go up over time. Ground rents can only be reviewed/changed as outlined in your lease agreement.

You may sometimes hear the term 'peppercorn rent' — this means no ground rent is payable.

An annual management fee is charged on the properties owned or managed by Plumlife. This varies according to the type of property. So on houses without any services, the charge will be lower than on a block of flats which has lots of services.

The management fee contributes to the cost of providing services and may include some the following depending on the services at the development:

  • Opening and administering bank accounts
  • Preparing and distributing service charge budgets/estimates
  • Collecting rent and/or service charges
  • Accounting for service charges prior to examination by an independent accountant
  • Providing information to auditors for the production of annual accounts (although an additional charge is payable for duplicate copies)
  • Providing management and service charge information to residents
  • Liaising with residents’ associations
  • Employing management staff (excluding scheme-based staff)
  • Inspecting the property regularly (period to be explicitly agreed with the landlord and made known to leaseholders) to check condition and deal with any necessary repairs
  • Periodic health and safety checks (but not specialist checks and tests)
  • Holding regular meetings with residents
  • Keeping records of residents' and tenancy details
  • Keeping landlords advised on management policy when working as an agent
  • Preparing specifications for minor works and services
  • Providing information to advice agencies and ombudsman services

Where Plumlife manage or part-own the building you live in, you do not usually need to take out buildings insurance. Plumlife arranges and pays for buildings insurance and the cost is then passed back to you in your monthly charge.

This is typically the case for shared owners living in houses or flats and for leaseholders who own flats which are managed by Plumlife.

There may be instances where Plumlife is not the landlord and will not be responsible for providing buildings insurance, for example a shared ownership apartment in a block managed by a third party. In this case, the third party agent would arrange this.

If you're not sure who provides your buildings insurance, you can find out by contacting us.

Your service charge is an estimate of the services we will provide during the year. We estimate the cost of providing the services and charge you. Included in this charge there may be a proportion that goes towards future major repairs
The service charge covers the cost of maintaining any communal areas of your home and the unadopted or unsold areas around it. Every property and development is different and your lease or transfer deed will set out what services we provide, what we can spend your service charge on and what share we will charge you.

The services may include:

  • Communal cleaning
  • External cleaning (litter picking, sweeping, communal gardens)
  • Landscape gardening in communal areas
  • Caretaking
  • Removing rubbish
  • Carrying out day-to-day repairs in communal areas like stairwells and corridors
  • Looking after repair contracts for door entry systems, shared TV aerials and lifts
  • Public liability insurance
  • Electricity in shared parts of the building
  • Communal window cleaning

You may also pay a fee to cover our costs for managing these services. This might include:

  • Opening and administering bank accounts
  • Preparing and distributing service charge budgets/estimates
  • Collecting rent and/or service charges
  • Accounting for service charges prior to examination by an independent accountant
  • Providing information to auditors for the production of annual accounts (although an additional charge is payable for duplicate copies)
  • Providing management and service charge information to residents
  • Liaising with residents’ associations
  • Employing management staff (excluding scheme-based staff)
  • Inspecting the property regularly (period to be explicitly agreed with the landlord and made known to leaseholders) to check condition and deal with any necessary repairs
  • Periodic health and safety checks (but not specialist checks and tests)
  • Holding regular meetings with residents
  • Keeping records of residents' and tenancy details
  • Keeping landlords advised on management policy when working as an agent
  • Preparing specifications for minor works and services
  • Providing information to advice agencies and ombudsman services

Every year we will send a copy of your service charge accounts and usually this is by 30th September 2017 ( some leases may say another date depending on their account financial year). These will show how much money has been spent and on what and how much we have collected.
 
Where a lease allows we will include an accountancy/ audit fee as part of your service charge. This pays for a review of your service charge account by regulated accountants. They’re independent and will make sure the accounts are fair and well managed.

If you are a shared owner and there is a managing agent on your development or a landlord that owns the freehold, we will collect service charges on their behalf for administration purposes and accounts for this will be sent to you by the managing agent.

Plumlife uses Sinking Funds (sometimes known as reserve funds) to pay for any major maintenance to your building or development in the future.

They help us the spread costs of any major maintenance over time — rather than presenting homeowners with a large bill when major works are carried out. So Sinking Funds can pay for things like roof repairs, redecorating communal hallways or replacing lifts.

They are held 'in trust' so cannot be used by Plumlife for anything other than the development from which the money was collected. All money is held in an interest bearing bank account and the interest earned is added to the Sinking Fund too.

We collect these funds from you in three ways — via 'Pay as you Go', 'Pay on Exit' or sometimes a combination of the two.

With 'Pay as you Go', money is collected as part of your service charge payment and transferred into the Sinking Fund. This money cannot be paid back to you if you sell your home and the percentage is specified in your lease.

With 'Pay on Exit', you pay a portion of the money you receive when you sell your home.

At Plumlife we provide information to you as our customer, including initial copies of our service charge budget and audited accounts, a summary of buildings insurance cover and rent and service charge statements. The cost of providing this kind of information is covered by our management fee.

Sometimes we will need to carry out work that falls outside of this and we are entitled to charge additional administration costs to cover it. This can include handling the re-sales of properties, dealing with permissions under the lease and serving legal notices. We can also charge for duplicate sets of information.

You can view a full list of our Administration Charges and your Summary of Tenants Rights. All of these fees are reviewed annually and the law states that administration charges must be reasonable.