Annual charge to property owners explained
When you purchased the above property you will have been informed that the title to the property included a covenant that places a legal obligation on the owner of the property to pay an annual sum (charge) of at least £120. This annual sum is paid towards the cost of managing and maintaining the open spaces that are being provided following the grant of planning permission for the residential development at Great Denham and to the west of Kempston.
Up until April 2017 the annual sum was payable, if demanded, to the company that built your property and the company was responsible for maintaining the open spaces. Now that the development is nearing completion the Council has been asked by the company to accept the responsibility for the management of the open spaces and this means that the annual sum will be paid to the Council.
All money received through payments of the annual sum will be kept in a separate ring-fenced fund and can only be used to meet the cost of the ongoing management and maintenance of green spaces on the development including the administration of the scheme. This includes activities such as landscape management; grass cutting (hard and soft), litter bin emptying, play area checks and shrub pruning, maintenance of hedgerows and trees, future planting etc.
The open spaces that will be maintained under the agreement are the areas shown in green on the following maps but the charge will only relate to the darker green areas (please note you may need to zoom in on each map to see the shading accurately).
- Map of the Great Denham development (PDF)
- Map of the land west of Kempston development (PDF)
- Specifications of maintenance (PDF)
- Schedule of maintenance (PDF)
Annual charge and Council Tax
The property owner sometimes asks why they have to pay us an annual charge as well as paying Council Tax. The annual charge is paid to the Council as your management company under the terms of your original Transfer Deed. It covers your share of the cost of the services we provide to your development.
Council Tax covers the services that the Council provides to all the residents in Bedford Borough for services such as planning, social services and leisure. By law, the Council has to keep Council Tax income and expenditure separate from other income and expenditure such as this management charge. This means that we cannot use Council Tax to pay for the services you receive under this management agreement. It also means that you are not paying for the same services twice.
The annual charge is payable by all property owners and the charges are levied at the same rate for all properties. The number of people living at the property does not affect them.
The charge may be subject to index linked changes but will be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that property owners are not being overcharged due to annual increases.
Invoices will be issued annually in February or March.
Property owners are responsible for the charge and will need to make their own appropriate payment arrangements with tenants or leaseholders.
The Annual Sum Letter April 2021 provides information about the proposed budget spend for 2021/22.
Selling a property subject to the annual sum
Sellers and buyers should be aware that there are certain procedural arrangements to be followed before such a property is sold. Failure to comply with these arrangements may lead to delay in completing the sale/purchase or in registering the land at the Land Registry.
The Council has produced procedural notes according to the developer that constructed the property (this is due to slight variations in approach of each developer within the Great Denham/West of Kempston site) The following procedure should be adopted on any sale of property subject to the annual sum:
- It is the seller’s responsibility to clear any arrears of Annual Sum as a property may not be sold if there are arrears of annual sum
- The buyer must enter into a deed of covenant with the Council to confirm that the buyer will comply with the obligations in the original transfer deed including payment of the annual sum
For all enquiries please contact Property.Paralegal@bedford.gov.uk
Please note applications are currently taking up to 4 weeks to process. Upon application please supply a copy of the original Transfer of the property from the developer together with up to date official copy entries of the register.
If you have any questions about the information on this page view our frequently asked questions page.