All Sheffield leaseholders need to know about major works
“I am buying a flat and I have been told that a section 20 Notice has been served – what does this mean?”
Sarah Sargent, Partner and Head of Residential Property at Lupton Fawcett, answers your questions on property issues.
Within your lease the leaseholder will be responsible for paying a service charge for the maintenance and repair of the building and common areas and for providing services. Most of these works are covered in the annual budget but if the cost of major works will exceed the sum of £250 for any one leaseholder then the leaseholders have a right to be consulted.
There are steps your landlord must follow when they consult you, known as a ‘Section 20’ consultation. There is a limit on how much you have to pay if you haven’t been consulted properly.
There are different requirements in place depending on the types of works.
Where there is a requirement for full consultation, the leaseholder will be able to make “observations” on the proposed works and also nominate a contractor for the landlord to obtain an estimate.
The consultation process also involves the landlord describing the works, although a full specification does not have to be given. The landlord should also “have regard” to any observations made and reply as appropriate.
A landlord may apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) (FTT) for a dispensation from the need to consult. They may wish to do this if the work is urgent and it is not possible to wait the two months that consultation can take. They may also seek a dispensation if, for some reason, they have failed to consult fully under the Act.
An application can be made prior to the work being carried out, or even sometimes retrospectively.
The main issue for a buyer in these instances is what are the costs of the works going to be and is the landlord proposing to carry out the works in stages in order to reduce the financial impact. You should make sure that you have obtained copies of all notices served and details of the consultation as well as cost estimates. If the Section 20 consultation has not been completed, you cannot be certain as to the final costs and you should be aware that you will become responsible for all future costs upon completion of your purchase. You may therefore wish to consider a price reduction or retention to take account of this.
For further help or guidance on this article or in relation to Residential Property generally, please contact Partner and Head of Residential Property, Sarah Sargent, on 0114 228 3281 or [email protected]
Discover more at www.luptonfawcett.com