All Case Studies

Service Charges (December 2023)

Mr T was unhappy about their service charges and wanted a refund on charges as well as compensation for their time and inconvenience.


Mr T was complained to us in October 2022 about their services charges billed in 2021-22 which included charges for communal electricity usage prior to the occupation of their home.

We responded explaining the reasons for the costs to the communal electricity where the charges for this period increased beyond the estimated amounts. We explained the increase in charges was as a result of our supplier billing us for previous years which were not billed at the time.

We sought advice on OFGEM guidelines on whether we needed to pay for bills going back further than 12 months. Unfortunately we were not covered under the OFGEM guidelines on back-billing as we are not considered as a small business. This meant that the bills received during the 2021/22 financial year were payable by us and we therefore could pass these costs onto leaseholders within the service charge.

We also explained that this complaint fell outside our complaints policy as there is an alternative route to appeal such decisions through the First Tier Tribunal.

Mr T wrote to the Ombudsman in January 2023.


The Housing Ombudsman decided that this case did not fall within their jurisdiction as it is a matter for the courts or tribunal.

The Ombudsman stated that it is unable to investigate complaints which concern the level of rent or service charge or the amount of the rent or service charge increase.

Paragraph 42(g) of the Housing Ombudsman Scheme states that:

“The Ombudsman may not consider complaints which, in the Ombudsman’s opinion… concern matters where the Ombudsman considers it quicker, fairer, more reasonable or more effective to seek a remedy through the courts, other tribunal or procedure”.