I live in a block of 28 retirement flats which are all owner occupied and of course leasehold. In addition we are all shareholders in the Housing Association which owns the building and land on a leasehold basis and whose sole business is the ownership of this building. We appoint a Managing Agent (also a housing association) to manage the building.
I assume, even under our own unusual ownership structure, that section 20 applies even though the Landlord (us collectively) is giving us (individually) notice of intent.
Section 20 applied to 28 flats is quite onerous in that the effective threshold level at which it applies is work of £7,000 or more. While designed to protect Leaseholders back in 1985 with no uprating in between £7000 today does not purchase what it did in 1985.
Is it acceptable to phase work permissions in a block, dividing perhaps floor by floor ? That way you could complete a job in three months were otherwise you would just be completing the consultation. I would be interested in any views on this.
Thank you for your email enquiry. Whilst we sympathise with the position, the freeholder should be careful when suggesting the contract for works should be divided up as it is likely to be considered to be a “sham” arrangement to avoid the consultation process. Whilst the consultation provisions are onerous, especially when the leaseholder own the freehold, the provisions must be seen as part of the wider scheme of the landlord and tenant legislation and are designed to ensure that leaseholders do not pay more than is reasonable.
The leaseholders within the block may of course raise some good points / make helpful observations through the consultation period which the board should consider.
Yashmin Mistry, Partner JPC Law