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Paying for works or services

Section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (amended by section 151 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002) says we must consult you about some of the works and services your lease says you must pay for.

The regulations are complicated and legal issues are involved. This page is a guide but if you’d like a full explanation of the law, you should think about taking your own legal advice. You can also visit The Leasehold Advisory Service for more independant information and advice. Or talk to our customer services team on 01732 749400.

  • What is a Section 20 notice?

    A Section 20 (S20) notice tells you we intend to carry out work or provide a service that leaseholders will have to pay towards. We must serve a S20 on any leaseholder who will be affected by the work or receive the service and we must send a copy to any relevant tenants’ association. The S20 notice will include information about what we plan to do and how much the estimated cost is. It will give you the opportunity to take part in the consultation process and comment on what is being planned.

    We must consult you before we do any of the following:

    • Carry out work that will cost any one leaseholder more than £250. This includes repairs, maintenance and improvements to your building and estate.
    • Enter into a long-term agreement (for more than 12 months) with outside contractors for work, supplies or services that will cost any one leaseholder more than £100 a year. Examples include cleaning, grounds maintenance and surveying.
  • New contracts

    We may consult you before we enter into a contract to carry out substantial works to the structure or communal areas in the building or for services included in your service charge.

    We issue Section 20 notices to you at each stage in the process of awarding a new contract. There are three possible stages:

    • Pre-tender stage: before we invite contractors to tender for the work (that’s when they give an estimated cost) called the Notice of Intention.
    • Tender stage: after we have received the tenders (estimates) - called the Notification of Landlord's Proposals (estimates).
    • Award of contract stage (in some cases): when we award the contract to the successful tender - called the Notification of the Award of Contract.
  • Existing qualifying long-term contracts

    We'll also issue a Section 20 notice to tell you when we intend carrying out major works where we have previously consulted residents before awarding the contracts - perhaps some years earlier.

  • Major works

    Our qualified surveyors regularly survey our premises to find out what major works are needed and when.

    If you’re a homeowner living in a property with communal or shared areas, we'll consult you before carrying out substantial works to the structure or communal areas in the building. The first notice (the Notice of Intention) will tell you why we think the works are necessary, where you can view the details of the contract and ask you to comment in writing within 30 days.

  • How much will it cost?

    Where we have long-term qualifying contracts in place with contractors who we appointed after previous consultations with you, we'll tell you the prices agreed with the contractor.

    If we obtain tenders for a new contract we'll send you another notice (the Notification of Landlord's Proposals (estimates) and tell you the prices of at least two external contractors [1].

    We’ll invite you to comment on these costs, which we'll recover through your service charge. We won’t award the contract for a further 30 days until we have considered any comments we receive. After awarding the contract we may send you a third notice (a Notification of the Award of Contract) if we need to inform you about the appointed contractor.

     

    [1] Except in case of OJEU (Official Journal of the European Union)/ public procurements where only the winning bidder’s costs are required to be notified.

  • Will I get help with the costs?

    Many of our customers pay into a reserve fund (sinking fund) as part of the monthly service charge. This is a type of savings fund which earns interest. It’s a way of collecting a sum of money over a period of time to be used for a specific purpose, such as a large scheme of work like roof renewal, external redecoration or other large expenditure. The aim is to split the cost over a longer period of time to avoid a very large bill in one service charge year.

    When the works are complete we’ll send you a bill, tell you how much is available in the reserve fund and whether you need to make any extra contribution.