Major works trigger Section 20 Consultation
In the world of apartment block management, the words major works have particular and significant meaning. An understanding is essential, the potential impact of getting it wrong can be significant. Peninsula Management can assist if needed. Talk to us.
So what are major works?
Major works are really important and the prescribed approach significant. These might include work to maintain, repair or improve the common parts of any flats or apartment block. They are generally major in scope and price too. Indicative examples include
- Roof repairs, with access often adding significantly to cost
- Replacement of numerous windows
- Work on a lift can often prove expensive
- External or internal redecoration – blocks of apartments are generally big buildings
- Fire and security systems are increasingly essential
How to manage the major works project?
When required works are likely to cost any one of leaseholder more than £250 through their individual proportion of the cost during one accounting period, the law requires there to be formal consultation with all of the leaseholders. How to do this is laid down, so it is essential to follow a specific procedure, under Section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, generally referred to as Section 20 Consultation.
Starting with a notice of intention which needs to be sent to each leaseholder explaining the proposed work and why it is required. Leaseholders need to be invited to give their feedback within 30 days. Leaseholders should be given the opportunity to nominate a contractor to undertake the required work. Following the laid down process is critical, not doing so can prove serious. The process takes time and cannot be avoided or shortened. Peninsula Management frequently undertakes Section 20 Consultation processes for their clients, managing the major works from start to finish. It is a significant undertaking.
Budgeting for major works?
Planning major works is essential. Often such work is known and can be planned for. Reactive repairs are needed and create challenges, but the process cannot be ignored. Undertaking major works should not be undertaken lightly, often giving challenges to undertake the repairs, creating financial pressures too. Ignore this process at your peril. It never ceases to amaze us how many times company directors (and some managing agents) are unaware of this obligation, and it is not unusual for us to be asked to undertake these responsibilities, which we are happy to do as part of our full management service.
Take specialist advice for Section 20 Consultation
Be forewarned and if in doubt, take advice. Errors and omissions can prove extremely expensive and a wider significant impact, with the law reports containing a plethora of case law from resultant litigation too. Errors can potentially affect the marketability of the leasehold blocks flats and apartments to there is a big responsibility. Ensure that your management agent is competent in dealing with Section 20 Consultation process for major works, this is a specialist sector.
Peninsula Management, as Chartered Surveyors, are specialists in the management of flat and apartment blocks and are also members of ARMA and ARLA covering the south west of England.