All residential properties on St Mary’s Island are subject to an annual rentcharge
A rentcharge is a legal obligation that attaches to a freehold property, and enables collection of a contribution to maintenance costs, and control through restrictive covenants.
On St Mary’s Island rentcharges are attached to the freehold of all houses. They are also attached to the freehold of blocks of flats and maisonettes, so in these cases the rentcharges are collected from the block owner, who passes them on to individual lessees.
Rentcharge income is used by the Trust to help fund the maintenance of Island facilities (including the lifting bridge* and the parkland), and towards overall estate costs such as security, insurance, and management.
Island rentcharges do not cover the maintenance of blocks of flats or their grounds – these are funded by service charges paid to the block landlord.
For the year commencing 1st April 2018 the variable rentcharge per bedroom will increase by 3.95% as determined by the RPI All Items Index for the year to January 2018.
Information relating to the calculation of the rentcharge together with budget information and how to pay will accompany the Rentcharge Invoice which will be mailed to residents week commencing 5th March 2018.
Please note the following in relation to the new Direct Debit Form. The recent adverse weather conditions meant that this year’s invoice packs were delivered a week later than expected. Therefore the 12th March deadline specified in the pack for returning new direct debit forms is extended to 19th March. The Direct Debit form is required if you wish to instruct the Trust to debit your bank account to pay your rentcharge with a single annual payment.
The charges below include the Variable Rent Charge payable on each residential dwelling for each bedroom, multiplied by the number of bedrooms, plus the Fixed Rent Charge of £1.00 per residential dwelling, inclusive of VAT.
Azure Sector rentcharge 2018-19
Rentcharge invoices for the period 1st April 2018 to 31st March 2019 fall due for payment on 1st April 2018 and should be settled within 21 days.
Paying your Rentcharge
Each house is subject to a Fixed Rentcharge of £1 per annum, plus a Variable Rentcharge based on the number of bedrooms in the property (as declared by the developer at the date of first sale). The Variable Rentcharge increases annually in line with the increase in the RPI All Items Index for the year to January 2018.
Rentcharges are due annually in advance on 1st April each year. Full payment instructions and forms will accompany the Rentcharge Invoice.
Flats and Maisonettes
Flats and maisonettes on St. Mary’s Island are not directly subject to Rentcharge Deeds
Houseowners on St Mary’s Island have entered into a Rentcharge Deed which covers compliance with restrictive covenants and payment of the Island Rentcharge.
With blocks of flats, the Rentcharge Deed is entered into by the freeholder of the block. Individual flatowners do not therefore have a direct obligation to Chatham Maritime Trust, but the individual flat leases should reflect the block owner’s covenants under the Rentcharge Deed, and are likely to contain provision for the block owner to recover the collective Rentcharge levied on the block through the block service charges.
Flatowners are therefore indirect contributors to the Island Rentcharge.
Unlike houseowners, leasehold flatowners do not require a consent certificate from Chatham Maritime Trust to enable the onward sale of their flat. They may, however, require a certificate from the block owner or management company to permit onward sale. Vendors of flats should ensure that their conveyancers check the flat lease and make the necessary arrangements.
What the Rentcharge Covers
The rentcharge income is a contribution to the overall costs of maintenance of St Mary’s Island. Until the Island is fully developed, the HCA (now known as Homes England) makes a contribution to these costs in respect of the unbuilt houses. Chatham Maritime Trust also makes a contribution from its endowment fund towards the maintenance of key infrastructure on the Island.
All the rentcharge income is spent on maintenance of the Island that falls to the Trust to maintain. The total rentcharge income does not meet revenue outgoings and the HCA make up the shortfall during the development period. The shortfall in rentcharge income is made up by the HCA’s support contribution so it is the HCA (i.e. the taxpayer) who will benefit from the reduction in maintenance costs by paying less in support contributions in future years.
The Trust has covenanted with residents to maintain the main access to the Island in good and substantial repair and condition; likewise the central parks and Finsborough Down. Despite not lifting the bridge will still serve its purpose to the residents in that it will convey traffic onto the Island.
* Conversion of the bridge to a fixed link does not eliminate future maintenance and therefore there will be no reduction in the future variable rentcharge. The physical elements of the bridge structure, i.e. deck, railings, surfaces etc. will still require maintenance as well as hidden components such as bearings on which the bridge sits. The bridge will also require future periodic painting.
St. Mary's Island Final Phase (Parklands Azure)
Azure (Blackcap Mews, Cade Close, Firecrest Close, Gadwall Mews, Westerly Way, Whinchat Way and part of The Causeway) is the latest addition to the growing riverside community comprising of 3, 4 and 5 bedroom homes the new sector will include a neighbourhood play area and a multi-use games area. The development has three distinct phases: Parklands, Water’s Edge and The Docks.
The rentcharge for the final phase was increased in 2016 by £20 plus VAT per bedroom to allow for the increase in costs of expenditure for the maintenance of items on the final phase. The current rentcharge was set originally in 1997 and has only ever increased by RPI. In order for us to ensure that the Trust is able to maintain the Island to the standard that the residents expect and to reflect this part of the development that has dock basins, river views, attenuation ponds and additional play areas the Trustees made a decision to increase the rentcharge in this phase. The Trust is a charity and needs to ensure that maintenance required on St. Mary’s Island is undertaken to high standards as well as safeguarding the financial sustainability of the Trust.