On these pages you will find information about the various Section 20 consultations we must carry out by law when we are looking to employ contractors, consultants or other companies to carry out work or services which you must pay for in your service charges if you are a homeowner.
We hope the information here is useful and helps you keep track of our plans and activities for renewing the services we provide where you live.
You should find copies of the most recent Section 20 notices we have served, as well as any covering letters or other information relating to the various services that we have or will be inviting contractors to submit tenders for on the leasehold consultation documents page.
Leasehold consulations FAQs
- What is a section 20 consultation?
'Section 20 consultation' is a reference to a legal obligation placed on landlords to consult with leaseholders before the cost of certain services or works are incurred under section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. This is because under the terms of your lease, you must contribute towards the cost of services and/or work to the building (or block) your property is in, and the grounds (or estate) around it. You do this by a paying a service charge.
The notices we send to you will contain information about what we plan to do, how much the work is likely to cost, and give you the chance to send us your comments about our plans. In some cases we will also invite you to nominate a contractor from whom we will try to obtain a quote for the works or contract. We will also send copies of any section 20 notices to the secretary of any recognised tenants’ association which represents the leaseholders who will be contributing to the works.
- What will I be consulted about?
We will consult with you before:
- carrying out any works that costs any one leaseholder in your building more than £250. This includes repairs, maintenance and improvements to your building and estate, for example works to windows, roofs and lifts. These are legally called “qualifying works”.
- arranging contracts that will last longer than 12 months and cost any one leaseholder in your building more than £100 a year. This includes contracts for providing services and agreements for maintenance work, such as cleaning, gardening, lift and maintenance contracts. These are legally called “qualifying long term agreements”.
- When will I not be consulted?
We will not consult with you if the thresholds outlined in “What will I be consulted about?” above are not met.
We will also not consult with you if we need to act quickly, for example, when we need to carry out urgent work such as repairing a leaking roof. If this happens, the law says that we can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) for “dispensation”. If we are granted dispensation, it will allow us to continue with our plans without fully consulting with you first. The Tribunal are made up of up to three independent and impartial members who will look at the facts to come to their decision.
- How many notices will I receive?
If we need to carry out a section 20 consultation we will send you up to three different notices depending on the type of consultation we are required to carry out. The notices you may receive are:
- Notice of intention. We will send this to you before we invite contractors to tender for the service or work and/or before carrying out any works. It will explain that we are intending to enter into a contract or carry out works, and why this is necessary. It will also provide you with an opportunity to comment in writing (known legally as “making observations”). In some cases, we will also give you the opportunity to nominate a contractor from whom we will try to obtain an estimate.
- Notice of estimates. We will send this to you after we receive estimates for the work from contractors. It will provide the estimated cost of the works or contract and provide you with a further opportunity to send us your comments in writing.
- Notice of reasons for awarding the contract. We will send this to you if we do not choose the cheapest contractor, or a contractor nominated by a leaseholder. This notice will inform you of our reasons why the particular contractor has been selected.
- Can I suggest a contractor?
You can suggest a contractor unless we are advertising the contract for works or services in the Official Journal of the European Union, or there is already a contractor in place (following a previous consultation under a qualifying long term agreement).
Any person or organisation nominated will be checked against our contractor criteria before we invite them to provide us with an estimate. For example, our criteria includes having sufficient insurances and health and safety policies in place.
- What is an administration/management fee for?
When we carry out major works, we add an administration fee to cover our own costs of arranging, managing and supervising the works. The supervision is carried out by our Planned Works team, who oversee any work and scrutinise the workmanship and invoices. They will make sure that any contingency sums provided for in the contract are only used with our approval.
- Why is scaffolding used for works?
If the work is at height, contractors are legally required to provide a safe method of access for their workmen to carry out their work. Scaffolding is usually the best method. If possible, a machine know as a cherry picker can be used instead, but this depends on the height of the building and how close the cherry picker can get. Sometimes a combination of scaffolding towers and cherry pickers can be used.
The schedule of works includes full scaffolding so that the maximum estimated cost is stated. The A2Dominion survey will agree the type of access with the contractor before works start and if it is possible to use different access methods at a lower cost, the savings will be passed on to homeowners.
- What will I pay for any works?
You will pay a share of the costs in accordance with your lease terms. The proportion of the costs set out in your lease may be based on equal division between the contributing properties, by floor area or by some other method.
Whatever the method, the proportion set out in the lease will be the proportion of the costs you will have to meet. If we have been collecting a sinking or reserve fund (a pot of money collected in advance and used to pay for more expensive work on your building/in its grounds) as well as the general service charge we will use the sinking/reserve fund collected to pay for as much of the cost as possible before billing you for any amounts not covered by it. Please note, however, that on occasion the fund may be collected for a specific reason, such as to replace the lifts, in which case it may not be used for other costs. This type of arrangement is quite rare.
- When will I have to pay for works or services carried our under a section 20 consultation?
You will have to pay as part of your service charge when we send you a demand for payment. The section 20 notices are not demands for payment and generally show the overall cost for the building, rather than the actual amount that you will be charged based on the proportion set out in your lease.
- Why isn't the cost of the works covered by the annual service charge?
Annual service charges relate to the day-to-day services provided to your estate, such as communal electricity, lighting, cleaning and buildings insurance.
- How can I make a payment?
We will provide you with details of how to pay when we send you a demand for payment. Where available, we will provide options for repayment when we send you the demand.
For independent information from the Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE), please visit their website here. Please note, LEASE is not associated with, or a part of, the A2Dominion Group.