May I ask people research before striking out. Negative moans won’t improve matters. Firstly the service charges can be examined by individuals even if this is a slow process, try to compare them to mansion blocks or say the Barbican Centre and you’ll get a shock, and for the sake of drama don’t confuse water rates with the service charge. Thames Water has nothing to do with the council, and any lone individual can apply for a water meter, and if not possible, can then apply for a single person discount. I also pay in my service charge for hot water and heating and after running my own private flat before think its a bargain. Home ownership is a huge responsibility, and giving people responsibility was meant to be a benefit of the Right to Buy scheme, to help shed the need to be looked after. So I say take control.