Frequently Asked Questions
Great Denham & Land West of
Kempston development - annual charge to property owners for
maintenance of open spaces explained
Q. What is the Annual
A. Its is a payment that must be made by the
owner of each property towards the cost of maintaining open spaces
in the development. It is calculated as a portion
of the costs incurred by the Council for maintenance of the various
areas of open space created by the developer to benefit the
development at Great Denham and West Kempston and the
administration of that scheme.
Q. How and when was the Annual Sum
A. The requirement to pay the Annual Sum is set out in the
original Transfer Deed which was completed when you (or the first
purchaser of the new home) purchased the property.
This document created a binding contractual arrangement by the
owner of the property to pay the Annual Sum. The Council has agreed
to take on the administration of the scheme and the management and
maintenance of the open space within the development .Your
solicitor should have advised you of your responsibilities at time
Q. How much is the annual
A. For the time being this will be £120.
Q. When will I receive
this Annual Charge?
A. Invoices will be issued in February or
March each year.
Q. I am already paying a regular sum to the developer,
is this the same charge?
A. Probably not. Most property owners in the development
are also required to pay a charge to meet the cost of maintaining
the area immediately adjacent to the property. This can
include shared driveways, communal parking, lawns and shrubs.
You should check the request for payment from the developer or
management company which should show what the payment is for.
Q. Are their any other charges linked with this
A. Yes, there is a notice fee to be paid when the
ownership of a property changes.
Q. What is the Notice Fee and how
much is ?
A. The notice fee is a charge that must be
paid as part of transferring the title of the property to a new
owner, for the time being for the notice is £40 + VAT.
Q. Does the Council ensure the Amenity
Areas are in a satisfactory condition upon handover?
A. The Council will inspect all areas and
ensure that they are fit for purpose before it accepts a transfer
of any of them.
Q. Is the maintenance of the country
park paid for out of the charge?
A. No. There is a separate agreement with the developers
regarding maintenance of the country park.
Q. Will the costs of the annual
charge vary across the development, depending on the size of the
property or number of people living in it?
A. No. The charges are levied at the same rate
for all properties. The number of people living the property does
not affect them.
Q. Is the charge increased every
A. The original Transfer Deed states that the
sum is a proportionate part of the sums incurred in managing and
maintaining the open space OR £120 whichever is the greater. Until
further notice, the Council will set the Annual Sum at £120 which
is the minimum sum chargeable.
Q. Do I have to pay any
A. The Council understands that no
owners have been asked to pay the Annual Sum to date other than
when the property was first purchased. The Council
will not be asking for payment of any amounts that were due to be
paid before 1 April 2017.
Q. If I rent the property am I
responsible for the annual charge?
A. Yes. Property owners are responsible for
the charge and will need to make their own appropriate payment
arrangements with tenants or leaseholders.
Q. How do I pay?
A. An invoice setting out the
Annual Sum will be sent annually and payment options will be shown
on the invoice.
Q. Can I pay by
A. Yes payment can be made by
instalments by direct debit only.,
Q. How much are the instalments?
A. Normally you will
have to pay in advance. Payments for the following year's
charge will begin in April each year and you will pay 1/12th of the
annual charge (currently £10.00) each month so that the full charge
is paid by the time the payment is due.
However there is not sufficient time to allow
monthly instalments in advance for the annual sum due on 1 April
2017 for the 2017/18 financial year. Therefore, for 2017/18
only payment of the sum due on 1 April 2017 will be accepted over
12 monthly instalments from 1 April 2017. This means that
both the 2017/18 and 2018/19 annual sums can be paid monthly
together and the monthly payment during 2017/18 year will be £20.00
(£10.00 toward the sum due on 1 April 2017 and £10.00 towards the
sum due on 1 April 2018).
From 1 April 2018 the monthly instalments will
be for just the annual sum that will become due on 1 April 2019.
Q. What happens if I don’t
A. If you do not pay the full
amount within 28 days of the payment date interest will be added at
4% above the bank rate. The Council may seek a County Court
Judgement against you and take action to enforce payment of the
amount due and the Council’s costs in enforcing payment. The
amount due is registered as a local land charge and you will not be
able to sell the property without paying the arrears.
Q. Don’t I already pay for this
service in my Council Tax bill?
A. No. The Council does
not currently manage or maintained the open spaces; therefore, the
cost of this service is not included in Council Tax bills.
Q. Can’t the annual sum just be added
on to my Council Tax bill?
A. No. The annual sum
is not part of the Council Tax charge and by law the Council must
send a separate invoice.
Q. I rent out my property, why doesn’t
the tenant pay the annual sum?
A. The terms of the transfer
of the property to you as the owner place a legal obligation on you
to pay the annual sum. The Council cannot charge the annual
sum to a tenant.
Q. The property is empty; do I still
have to pay?
A. Yes, the annual sum must
be paid regardless of whether or not the property is occupied.
Q. If I sell the property after I pay
the invoice will I be entitled to a refund?
A. No. The sum is
payable by the person who owns the property on the day the annual
sum becomes due. There is no reduction in the annual sum if
the property is sold at a later date.