Are you a landlord or a tenant and in need of a Section 20 Notice? Read on to find what it means, how much it will cost and how to obtain one.
What Is A Section 20 Notice?
A section 20 notice is a notice telling leaseholders of a property that work is going to be carried out on the property that they live in and that they will have to pay towards that work with the other leaseholders of the property.
The notice will confirm:
1. What work is intended to be done to the property
2. Estimated costs for that work
3. Details of your right to consult on the process and comment on what is being proposed (plus the timelines to do this)
The Section 20 notice will also be sent to any registered tenants association.
Is A Section 20 Notice A Legal Requirement?
There are two occasions when a landlord must serve a Section 20 Notice on tenants in accordance with the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985:
1. If the planned works to the property are expected to exclude £250 per leaseholder of the building or
2. A long term contract of more than 12 months is awarded to a contractor which will cost each leaseholder £100 or more per year (such as lift or grounds maintenance).
The Three Notices Under A S20
1. A Notice Of Intention
This shows the works that are intended to be carried out to the property and tells the leaseholder of their right to nominate a contractor.
The notice expires 30 days after it is served on the leaseholders, meaning that the landlord can then proceed to the next stage.
2. Notice of Estimates
The second notice of estimates shows a minimum of two estimates obtained for the intended works to be carried out. Once again, leaseholders are told how to inspect the estimates and have 30 days to respond.
3. Notice Of Award Of Contract
Finally, the notice of the award of the contract to the successful company must be served on the leaseholders within 21 days of the contract being awarded to them and explain why that company has been chosen to carry out the works.
What Is A Section 20B Notice?
A section 20B notice relates to service charges for the building in question which are incurred on an ongoing basis, such as routine maintenance charges (unlike planned larger expenses above under the Section 20 notice).
A landlord can only recover service costs incurred if they serve a Section 20B notice within 18 months of the works being undertaken.
Section 20 Notice Costs
A professionally drafted notice by landlord solicitors will cost from a few hundred pounds. Ensuring it is professionally drafted, however, may save having to repeat the process again if it is done incorrectly initially.
Section 20 Notice Time Limit
The notice will not itself expire, but there are timelines which should be followed in the serving of the three notices detailed above.
What Happens If Someone Refuses To Pay A Section 20 Notice?
If a leaseholder refuses to pay when all other leaseholders agree the works, they will still be liable to pay the amount in question.
Persistent failure to pay will lead to a breach of the terms of the lease which would in time lead to forfeiture of the lease (having to vacate the property).
This would only happen in the most severe cases with a persistent refusal to pay and after court proceedings for forfeiture of the lease
Can A Section 20 Notice Be Served By Email?
Usually Section 20 Notices must be served in accordance with the terms in the lease of the property, which is usually first class or recorded post to the property.
A landlord could serve by email as well, as long as they have served as dictated by the terms of the lease.