Section 20 Works and AST's

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    Section 20 Works and AST's

    We are the freeholders to a small block of flats and also live on site. We issued a section 20 for some major structural works that need doing in the next 6 months according to the surveyor. Quotes are currently with the leaseholders for any questions or appeals and then we will go with a contractor.

    In the meantime the flat that needs the most structural work (and was the one who raised the issues in the first place) has declared they are renting the property put from September this year. We dont have a problem with them renting it but it concerns us greatly that the tenants could refuse access for the structural work to be done. Can they refuse? It will be very disruptive for the tenants, it is a complete rebuild of a bay window to their lounge so they will have no other social living space. We know they are entitled to quiet enjoyment of the property which is standard in all AST's and this is what concerns us.

    Any advice on how to proceed with this?

    That's really a problem for the leaseholder. If they haven't included a right of access for the work in the tenancy agreement, but there is one in their lease, they will need to compensate you for additional costs resulting from the failure to gain access.

    Note that quiet enjoyment applies to long leases, so this is not significantly different from the leaseholder refusing access, except that, with a badly drafted AST, the leaseholder may be liable but unable to comply.

    Some leases require a licence to sub-let, in which case you should only grant the licence if it allows access.


      Unfortunately the leases only state they can let but on a long AST (no holiday let or Airbnb etc...) and to be shared by one family .

      In the lease we do have a right of access for works for the structure of the building so we should be ok on that front.

      There is other structural work that needs doing such as work in the roof and this is all accessed from our property so we can get on with some of the work but the work in the flat discussed is very urgent as it could collapse if it is not rectified.

      We didnt want to be in a position with a builder on site and the tenants refusing access.

      We are new to being freeholders (and only bought it so an outside company didn't and then our fees sky rocket!) And it is a learning game this one.


        If it could collapse, you need to notify building control anyway, so I'd suggest reporting it as a dangerous structure. If it is as bad as you say, they may put a prohibition notice on it, which will force the tenant out, although probably make the leaseholder liable to being sued by the tenant,as it sounds like they knew the situation before they created the tenancy.

        Worst case is that they require other flats to be be evacuated, but that is better than facing manslaughter charges.


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