Major works and Section 20

Last updated - 6 November 2017

Major works
Under the terms of the lease, the landlord is responsible for the maintenance of the building and estate where your leasehold property is situated.

This maintenance can be small-scale repairs, such as renewing a roof tile or replacing a communal front door. It can also include larger repairs and improvements, such as a new roof or windows. Such large-scale repairs and improvements are known as major works.

If we intend to carry out major works where the cost exceeds £250 for any one leaseholder, we will be required to send leaseholders the appropriate legal consultation notice relating to major works and improvements. 

Section 20

As a Leaseholder, you have a responsibility under the terms of your lease to pay towards the cost of services, repairs, maintenance or improvements to your flat, building and estate.

Section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 requires us to provide you with details and ask for your opinions about intended works and services. This is known as consultation. This is done by sending you a formal notification called a Section 20 Notice. If we do not do this, we might not be able to charge you the full cost of the works and services. Section 20 sets out the way we must consult with you.

Section 20 Consultation

According to Section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (as amended) if works are required that will cost more than £250 per resident, the landlord or managing agent is legally bound to carry out a consultation process with customers.

This gives customers the chance to formally comment on the works as well as nominate their own choice of contractor. Similarly, if a landlord or managing agent enters into a long term agreement (more than 12 months) with a supplier that will cost more than £100 per resident per year, they are required to carry out a Section 20 Consultation with customers. This is the first stage of three in the process:

  • Stage one provides you notification of our plans.  It doesn’t give a scheme-specific breakdown of works, just an overview of our intentions.
  • Stage two provides you with estimates for the works and a full scheme-specific breakdown of works.
  • Stage three advises you of which contractor we have selected and our justifications why.

Stages one and two last for 30 days and require us to serve you with a Notice informing you of what our intentions are.

If the works are urgent and cannot wait for the consultation to be carried out (for example if a security system needs replacing), then Genesis can apply retrospectively to The First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) without going through the Section 20 consultation process.

We will respond in full to any comments or feedback made within 21 days of receiving your email or a letter from you

For more information please see our Section 20 FAQs.

Qualifying Long-term Agreement

A ‘Qualifying Long Term Agreement or QLTA’ is a contract between a landlord and service provider to supply goods, services, or works to a building or estate for a period of 12 months or more and where the contribution of any one leaseholder exceeds £100 in any accounting period from 1 April to 31 March.

QLTAs are used because they provide an efficient way to get work done and are more cost-effective for our leaseholders and tenants. Giving contractors a longer contract helps keep costs down.

Energy Services Consultation

We are looking to enter into a long term agreement for the provision of energy services. As part of this process we are carrying out a Section 20 consultation for Energy Services.

From June 2017, we will be sending you a formal Section 20 Consultation under a Qualifying Long Term Agreement (QLTA). We have put together information which helps you understand the consultation process and provide answers to some of the frequently asked questions.

You should have now received a Notice of Intention. The Notice of Intention will last for 30 days from the day of issue, and you will have the opportunity to contact us and let us know what you think. Keep an eye on this page as we will be updating it regularly with information.

In return we will reply to you within 21 days of receiving an observation comment from you in writing. We will then provide a full summary of any feedback received at the end of the 30 day period of the consultation.

You can complete the form below or send your observation comment via post to:

Leasehold Services
Section 20 Team
3rd floor
Atelier House
64 Pratt Street
London
NW1 0DL

FAQs
What is a Section 20 notice?

As a Leaseholder, tenant, or customer, you have a responsibility under the terms of your lease or tenancy agreement to pay towards the cost of services, repairs, maintenance or improvements to your flat, building and estate.

Section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 requires us to provide you with details and ask for your opinions about intended works and services. This is known as consultation. This is done by sending you a formal notification called a Section 20 Notice. If we do not do this, we might not be able to charge you the full cost of the works and services. Section 20 sets out the way we must consult with you.

This content is not a substitute for the formal notice which should be read in full.

Why was a Section 20 notice sent to me?

This notice is served on:

  • Leaseholders
  • Tenants paying a variable service charge
  • Secretaries of Recognised Tenants’ Associations
  • Leaseholders who have purchased off plan, but might not yet have signed their lease

If you have received the notice and you are not the leaseholder for the property please send it back to us. The notice has been addressed to the named Leaseholders where there are correspondences or forwarding addresses and addressed to ‘the tenant’ where it is delivered to the property address.

Why was a Section 20 notice needed?

As your landlord, we are obliged to serve you with a notice giving you details of the proposed contractor for a qualifying long term agreement in excess of 12 months. We have served you the notice of proposal to ensure compliance with our legal obligations to enable us to recover the full costs for works and services.

What is Section 20?

Section 20 is a legal consultation process that affects leaseholders.

The legalisation that we have to work to is Section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 as amended by Section 151, Common and Leased Reform Act 2002. Section 20 takes effect when we procure contracts for major works and services that the leaseholder will pay for.  

What is the intended scope of works?

The works can include the following but this is not an exhaustive list:

  • Redecorations to all surfaces, including the common parts that have been previously decorated by Genesis.
  • As part of the normal external decorations programme, a certain level of repairs will be carried out (this is an indication):
  • Clearing out all gutters/downpipes and making loose joints watertight. Renewal may be carried out if gutters are beyond repair.
  • Renewal or repair to any defective areas of soffit or fascia boards (please see attached diagram for context).
  • Repair to any defective joinery to windows and doors and general easing, so windows and doors open and close freely.
  • Minor repairs may be carried out to roofs, chimney stacks, external brickwork, render, concrete and timber surfaces.
  • For Health and Safety reasons, contractors are not permitted to use ladders for properties that are two storeys high. Instead, scaffolding will be erected to ensure that contractors are working safely.
How is my share of the major/cyclical works calculated?

Your share is calculated in the same way as your service charge. You can check your estimated or actual service charge statement that you would have received in either February or September.  Alternatively check your lease. 

How much money is in the sinking fund?

Your actual service charge statement which is issued in September will identify how much is in your sinking fund. This is the audited amount which will be used to reduce/cover the cost of any works that we are proposing. If there is a difference between the actual cost and your sinking fund amount, you will be billed for this.

Do I have a say in selecting the contractor?

Under the Qualifying Long Term Agreement (QLTA) between Kier and Genesis, which began on 8th August 2014, you do not have the option to select a different contractor. However, if works are not being carried out by Kier, you do have the option to recommend a contractor as part of the observation process (criteria’s apply).If you nominate a person or organisation, they will need to be added to our list of approved contactors and will need to supply evidence of the following:

  • Public liability insurance
  • Employer liability certificate
  • Valid tax exemption certificate
  • Company’s certified accounts (including profit and loss account and balance sheet)
  • Copy of health and safety policy
  • Policy detailing awareness of diversity

Additional documents may be required depending on the nature of the work.

Before we carry out large scale works we will consult with leaseholders when:-
  • The works will cost more than £250 per flat/ property.
  • If we enter into a qualifying long term agreement for more than one year where the costs exceed £100 per flat/ property.
  • The consultation that takes place is known as a ‘Section 20’ consultation under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, and can consists of up to three stages.
Who needs to be consulted?

Consultation notices must be sent both to individual leaseholders and to any recognised tenants’ associations (RTAs).  A RTA is an association recognised by the landlord, or by a Rent Assessment Committee, under section 29, Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

The procedures provides for two separate 30-day periods for leaseholders to make observations.  

What if I was not living in the property in 2014?

The previous leaseholder should have notified you or your solicitor as part of the sales process of the Kier contract. 

What if I am considering selling my property during the consultation period?

As the outgoing leaseholder, you are responsible for notifying the incoming leaseholder of any planned works.  You should keep the Section 20 documents in a safe place and if you sell your home they should be passed on to your solicitor.

When will the work start and who will supervise?

Kier will contact you beforehand to tell you when the works will start and the proposed completion dates.  Kier will supervise the works and Genesis will complete a final inspection. 

How long will the contractor take to complete the works?

Normally 6 – 8 weeks if no problems are found. It also depends on the size of the properties and volume of work involved.

Will the contractor need access to my home?

If they do they will contact you directly.  All staff will have ID badges and will be identifiable.

Can I make suggestions to the proposed works?

Yes, if the works are in connection with the fabric of the building or communal area.   There may be cost implications.  Genesis will have regard to your observations as your knowledge and history of the block can support the programme of works.  Some comments may not be taken on board.  Genesis has a legal obligation to maintain the block and will carry out works that they deem necessary to maintain the property.

Should I notify my insurance company of the proposed works?

Yes, especially if your building is going to be scaffolded.  Genesis does not have a policy of fitting alarms to scaffolding but if all households within the building want this it can be arranged and the cost placed on the final bill.

If any problems occur during the work who should I contact?

Kier will employ a site manager and their details will be on the letter you receive from them.  The site manager will be your first point of contact.  If you cannot contact them, please contact Genesis on 033 3000 3000.

What happens if I live in a conservation area?

Genesis has to comply with the regulations set out by the local authority for any works.

When will I pay for the works?

You will be billed once the works are completed.  A demand will be issued to you in accordance with legislation.

Are payments options available to cover the cost of works?

Yes.  Genesis wants to make it as easy as possible for you to pay for your share of the works. The lease requires leaseholders to pay their share of the costs in full when the works are complete. Genesis does offer different payment options which will be discussed on a case by case basis. 

Resident leaseholders who occupy their property as their principal home can contact Genesis for different payment options. If you are not a resident leaseholder (you do not reside at the property where works have been undertaken), different rules apply for the payment of major works demand.

No-one has contacted me regarding the other issues I raised with Genesis in the past.

Some of your observations may not form part of the consultation process and will be referred to the appropriate team.  You will need to liaise with them directly.

20. I have a question about section 20 that is not covered here. Who should I contact?

You can get in touch with us on s20@genesisha.org.uk