Could you please let me know if more than one Section 20 Notice can be issued in any financial year without contravening the regulations. We would like to amend our RA constitution to reflect our current ways of working, as the existing one has not been adhered to for several years (5 – 8). Any advice would be very welcome. We would like to adopt a simpler more modern way of working.
Section 20 (of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985) relates to consultation for either major works or qualifying long term agreement.
Where a Landlord proposes to undertake major works and recover those costs from leaseholders via the service charge and the contribution from any leaseholder exceeds £250, then he must either consult with those leaseholders or obtain dispensation from consultation from the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber). So far as qualifying long term agreements (QLTA) are concerned, consultation (or dispensation) is required where a Landlord proposes to enter into a contract of more than 12 months which will cost any leaseholder more than £100 in any financial year.
There is no restriction in section 20 or the accompanying regulations as to how many consultation processes can be undertaken in any financial year. It is possible to have a number of consultation exercises running at any one given time.
There is nothing in statute to restrict the number of consultations that can be undertaken in any year.
A slight word of caution is perhaps necessary on a slightly different point to the question you have raised. Services charges are only payable to the extent that they are reasonably incurred. The saying goes that Rome wasn’t built in a day and there’s a line of argument that the same applies to major works in that it may be unreasonable to expect leaseholders to contribute to the costs of lots of projects in just one financial year.
I am not sure I understand the interplay between your current RA constitution and the consultation exercises you are proposing. You are undertaking works because of obligations you have under the leases, and the leaseholders are contributing to the costs via payment of a service charge. However, if you are concerned that there are restrictions in your constitution which affect your ability to carry out major works (and recover costs), then you should consider obtaining advice. I cannot comment on this interplay in anything other than general terms because I have not seen either a specimen lease or a copy of your constitution.
Cassandra Zanelli, Solicitor and Partner at PM Legal Services