In the UK we have a local tax called the council tax. Local services are funded by Council Tax. It pays for, amongst others, police and fire services, leisure and recreation projects such as the upkeep of parks and sports centres, libraries and education services, rubbish & waste collection, and disposal. Transport and highway services including street lighting and cleaning, and road maintenance, environmental health and trading standards, administration and record keeping, like births, deaths & marriages, and local elections. The tax we pay is correlated to the market price of your property, whether you rent or own it. The tax is defined by bands listed from A, being the lowest, to H, being the highest. The most common band is D. The bands from E to H are quite high and can put prospective buyers off. When we bought this place is was a second home, we were still living in London at the time. Once we moved and sold our London home we invested in upgrading and improving this place. I should have been more careful. When you do any renovations or building alterations you must first apply for planning permission. Once granted your work can go ahead, when completed the planning officer will call to inspect the work to ensure everything remains within the remit of the planning application. The planning office is a department of the council. Now the council know my property has grown substantially. The former band was D, it was increased to F. I was going to appeal but I had a word with a local estate agent (realtor) who checked the property over and told me that I had been lucky, there were other properties in the area that were similar in size to mine that had been banded G, and if I lost my appeal I could well have been upgraded to G. I shut up. But you are right about the maintenance bills. No matter how much you set aside there's always something that happens that you couldn't foresee. One year we had a burst water pipe, another time our central heating boiler (furnace) gave up the ghost. It's never ending, but this property would be out of our price range if it had been in London, or any other place where prices have escalated beyond the reach of most. So we pay, grit our teeth and get on with it.