Major works and section 20 consultations
If we own the freehold of an estate, we are responsible for the upkeep, maintenance, repair, and improvement of your building (but not houses) and the estate as a whole.
I have received a consultation notice what do I need to do?
We do regular maintenance to all properties, but every building needs major work during its life. This can include renewing parts of the building such as the roof, installing new facilities such as entry phones or making improvements to lift your estate to modern standards.
We use the term ‘major works’ to include external decorations and associated repairs which we do on a cyclical basis (in other words, every few years). On most schemes you must contribute to a cyclical reserve fund that covers the costs of these works.
However, if this is insufficient to meet the costs, you will be liable to contribute.
In some newer schemes, where the lease allows, we will introduce reserve sinking funds for other work that may be needed on your property in the future.
We are committed to consultation when undertaking major works that will affect you. This may take the form of a newsletter or local meeting, depending on the scale of work proposed.
If work is likely to cost more than £250 per property, we will also serve Notice of Intent to give you at least 30 days to comment before we get prices. Your comments must be in writing and sent to us by the date stated in the notice.
If we decide to continue, we will seek prices and then serve a Notice of Estimates giving you at least 30 days to provide written comments. You cannot refuse permission for the proposed works because, by signing the lease, you agreed that we could maintain the property.
Special rules apply when work is carried out under a long-term agreement. If this applies, the notice will say so.
Standard of work
We want all work to your building and estate to be done to the highest standard. If you have any problems about the work, it is important you tell us while it is in progress so that we can put things right. We will also carry out a survey after completion of the work.
Damage by contractors
All contractors, who work for us, must be fully insured. If a contractor damages your property or causes personal injury to you or other people in your household, you should be able to claim against the contractor.
If scaffolding is erected, it is advisable to contact your contents insurer. It may not affect your premium but not telling them may affect the outcome of any claim.
On major works there is a limited ‘defects liability period’ that varies from six months to a year depending on the nature of the work. For some specific types of work such as roof resurfacing and windows, manufacturers give warranties against manufacturing defects. Insurance-backed guarantees are obtained for up to 25 years, depending on the items and materials used.
Value for money
To ensure we get value for money, we put all major works contracts to competitive tender. If work is done under a long-term contract, the contractors are selected on a ‘framework agreement’.
Paying for work
The most likely major works that will arise are cyclical redecorations. If there is enough money in the reserve, we will not require you to pay an extra amount but if we do, we will inform you.
You may be able to get an improvement loan from your mortgage lender and the amount will be added to your mortgage. In exceptional cases we may consider buying back a share of your property to pay for the cost of the work.
If you have difficulty paying for your share of the work, please contact us email@example.com or 0208 996 8874 to make arrangements as soon as possible.