As a leaseholder, trying to understand the new and existing legislation relevant to leasehold property can be both challenging and time consuming. In this post we are going to focus on Qualifying Works under Section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.
One of the most important Acts relevant to leasehold property is the Landlord and Tenant Act (1985), which essentially introduces the minimum standards that a landlord/managing agent owes to their tenants.
A key provision within this specific piece of legislation is Section 20 (S20), which is a clause put in place with the intention of protecting leaseholders from paying unnecessarily large sums for work carried out to their building.
As mentioned prior, the jargon can often be overwhelming and is certainly capable of leaving you ‘head in hands’. However, this post will alleviate you of this stress, by providing a simplified explanation, hopefully leaving you feeling well informed.
In simplified terms, as a leaseholder, S20 provides you with the right to be consulted if the landlord carries out major works for which you will be asked to pay. This consultation process has three stages:
1) Notice of Intention
This notice must be given to each leaseholder and should include a description of the works proposed and why they need doing. Furthermore, it should inform the leaseholders of their right to nominate a contractor, while also welcoming any addition comments.
The expiry date of this notice is 30 days from that date which it is given. Therefore, as a leaseholder you should respond to this notice as promptly as possible, to ensure that your voice is heard.
2) Notice of Estimates
Once a minimum of 2 estimates for said works have been obtained, a notice must be served to all leaseholders detailing the costs involved and where they can be inspected. The notice must include estimates from at least 1 of the nominee contractors, the relevant information of each contractor (name and address) and should finally provide leaseholders with a further 30 days to respond.
3) Notice of Reasons
This third and final stage is only necessary if the awarded contractor did not provide the lowest estimate or was not chosen from the given nominees. This notice must be given within 21 days of entering the contract and must contain the reasons for the award, a summary of the leaseholders’ observation regarding the given estimates and information on where this can be inspected.
What happens if I am not consulted?
A failure to follow these regulations, will result in a limitation being placed on the amount chargeable for the work or service undertaken. Meaning that the maximum cost a leaseholder can be made to pay for the works will be limited to £250, irrespective of the final cost. Thus, as a leaseholder, if you ever feel under-informed about works being undertaken and your landlord fails to abide by S20, you should utilise your right to access information, to ensure that the landlords actions are reasonable and that you are not being exploited.
Still unsure about how Section 20 applies to you?