Section 20 consultations

We are legally obliged to consult you before we carry out certain works or services for which you will have to pay under the terms of your lease.

What is a Section 20?

It’s the consultation process we are legally required to follow before we carry out works or services, above a certain value, for which you will have to pay under the terms of your lease. Section 20s were introduced as part of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, with current legislation in place since 2003.

Why will you consult me?

The process gives you an opportunity to share your views on our plans to carry out certain works on your building or estate.

In some cases, you will be able to suggest a contractor who you think could complete the work at a competitive price.

When will you consult me?

We'll consult you in two situations:

  • before we carry out one-off works that will cost more than £250 per household
  • before we award contracts lasting more than 12 months that are likely to cost households at least £100 per year.

These might include repairs, redecoration or improvements to your building or estate, as well as contracts for grounds maintenance, lift servicing or communal cleaning.

How will you consult me?

We'll send out a series of formal notices, as set out by law. Residents have 30 days to respond in writing at each stage. We won’t award a contract or start any work until the consultation has finished.

What notices will you send me?

In general, there are three stages to the consultation at 30-day intervals:

Stage 1: We write to you with an overview of the work we are planning. You have 30 days to send back any comments on the proposed work and, in some cases, you can nominate a contractor.

Stage 2: We send you information about the quotes we have received from the tendering process. Based on this, we'll also give you an estimate of how much the contract is likely to cost you. You then have a further 30 days to give feedback on any information we have sent you.

Stage 3: If we aren't choosing the cheapest quote or if we aren't selecting a contractor nominated by a resident, we'll write to you with an explanation. At this stage, we can begin the work and costs will be included in your subsequent service charges.

Can I nominate a contractor?

You can suggest a contractor to carry out the work wherever we don’t have to give public notice.

We'll write to you to confirm receipt of your nomination, which will be considered alongside any others we receive.

You cannot nominate a contractor when we have to give public notice. This is when the likely cost of the contract is above a certain value and so has to be advertised on the Government's Find a Tender website.

What happens if you don’t consult with me?

If you aren’t consulted over qualifying works, the amount you can be charged is capped at £250 for one-off works and £100 for long-term contracts.

In some situations, we may not have to consult. If emergency work is needed without delay, for instance, we can apply to the first-tier tribunal (Property Chamber) to proceed without consulting first with leaseholders. In such cases, we would have to comply with any conditions the tribunal imposed.

Where can I find out more?