Section 20 Notice.

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    Section 20 Notice.

    Hi, I live in a building that comprises two flats. Both flats are leasehold. I own one flat. The roof is demised to me. I am also the freeholder (I own the entire freehold). I have been advised that I should replace the roof. Both my lease and that of the other leaseholder require that we pay half of the costs associated to maintaining the roof. In my capacity as one of the leaseholders I am deciding to replace the roof so I wonder whether I need to issue a Section 20 notice? Or is there something else that I should be doing? To clarify: I understand that if the freeholder decides to do work then the notice must be issued. It is true that in this case I am the freeholder too. But if I were not the freeholder and I decided to replace the roof, I assume that I would not issue a notice. So do I issue one now that I coincidentally am the freeholder too? I hope that my question is clear. Thanks.

    If the service charge is contributed by both leaseholders and paid to the freeholder , and if the cost exceeds £250 per flat, then S20 issue by the freeholder is necessary.

    If you volunteer to pay all costs for replacing the roof, then issue of S20 is not necessary.


      Thanks for your reply. There is no service charge paid by the leaseholders. I don't think I understand the role the freeholder plays in this. If I were not the freeholder and the roof leaked, would I tell the freeholder so that he can issue an S20 notice? And who then would organise the quotes etc? I am not volunteering to pay of all the costs.


        Yes as FH you issue a S20 notice to both the LHs, you and the other flat.

        You say there is no service charges paid ?, this is odd, I assume there are leases for both flats, it would be most odd if they didnt mention how the building is maintained.
        Advice given is based on my experience representing myself as a leaseholder both in the County Court and at Leasehold Valuation Tribunals.

        I do not accept any liability to you in relation to the advice given.

        It is always recommended you seek further advice from a solicitor or legal expert.

        Always read your lease first, it is the legally binding contract between leaseholder and freeholder.


          Thanks for your reply. The leases say that each leaseholder is responsible for maintaining those parts of the building that are demised to them. There is a separate clause that requires that the other leaseholder pays and contributes half of the expense of repairing the roof. As far as I can see, there is nothing in the lease that says that the freeholder has any role to play in this except that there is a clause that says that he will get involved in the case of a dispute. There definitely is no service charge - in practice we've done everything by cooperating and thus far there has been no disagreement.


            Originally posted by jimbob127 View Post
            There is no service charge paid by the leaseholders.
            Perhaps, but that might depend on how section 18(2) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 is construed in a property like yours where the leaseholders are made responsible for all maintenance and have to share some costs.

            I would think that it could be argued that maintaining the roof (and other parts of the building) as a result of an obligation in the lease are "costs incurred on behalf of the landlord" - although I'm not convinced that argument would work.
            I wonder if there is any case law for similar situations?

            As far as Section 20 consultation is concerned, this is intended to be a protection for leaseholders (now considerably watered down) giving them some say in any work that will cost them over £250.
            It only really applies if there is a possibility that a leaseholder might later challenge the costs of the work.

            With only two of you involved there should be no need to go through 'official' section 20 processes - just keep evidence that the work, and choice of contractor, has been discussed and agreed on in advance.
            If you have evidence that the other leaseholder has agreed to the work and accepted an estimate (preferably in a written form) they will find it pretty much impossible to later challenge their part of the costs - unless the standard of work is poor, in which case both of you have a case against tge contractor rather than each other.


              Thanks for your reply. So there is no legal requirement that I follow the official Section 20 process? I'm still unclear as to what would happen if I were not the freeholder and needed to repair my roof. Then I could not follow the process so would I have to ask the freeholder to follow the process? Would he not say that the lease requires that we take care of maintenance so it is not his responsibility?


                I actually had not fully absorbed your point about 18(2) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. If the argument is valid and I am incurring the costs on the freeholder's behalf, would he be compelled to issue the S20 paperwork (this is a theoretical question as I am the freeholder!)?


                  I think that the questions that you need to ask is the following:
                  1. Will the other leaseholder agree that the works are necessary, and agree to pay half of the costs?
                  2. Will they be willing to put their agreement in writing?

                  If the answer to both of the above questions is "Yes" it would seem to be best for both of you to discuss the work that is to be carried out, and the choice of contractor, amicably between you.

                  If you think that there will be disagreement, it may be best to follow the section 20 consultation process (perhaps identifying yourself as being both freeholder and leaseholder so that there is no argument about who the letters should be coming from).
                  You will still need to show that you have been fair, and have taken any comments from the other leaseholder into account, and be able to demonstrate that the work was required, appropriate, and carried out to a reasonable standard.

                  I have no idea what the actual legal position would be in your situation, but if you can show that the other leaseholder agreed to the work and agreed that they are responsible for paying half of the costs you should be in a strong position if there is any later dispute.


                    Thanks very much for your advice.


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