Section 20 Bypass?

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    Section 20 Bypass?

    Our RMC is exploring whether it would be possible to bypass the Section 20 process by getting the agreement of all leaseholders to do so. Does anyone know if there is any precedent for this? I appreciate that getting 100% agreement would be a tall order but for now the question is has it been attempted or achieved before.

    In this instance the reasoning is that a new communal boiler is to be installed and we need it urgently. It is not an emergency but we have been without reliable hot water since May and this will not be tolerable as the cold weather comes on. The section 20 process would push completion to mid-January whereas an immediate start would have the boiler up and running by the beginning of November since there is a contractor ready to start when the board gives the go-ahead.

    Thanks.

    #2
    You can apply for a dispensation via the first tier tribunal, however the S20 process can be done in 2-3 months if you/your agent are prompt. The final stage doesn't actually require 30 days notice, so closer to 2 months in total is possible.
    <a href="http://www.manchesterpropertygroup.co.uk/" target="_blank">Manchester letting agents</a>

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      #3
      Originally posted by jrsteeve View Post
      You can apply for a dispensation via the first tier tribunal, however the S20 process can be done in 2-3 months if you/your agent are prompt. The final stage doesn't actually require 30 days notice, so closer to 2 months in total is possible.
      Thanks. All that has been taken into account (see OP). The wish is is to accomplish it even sooner by getting 100% agreement to start straight away. The question is: Has anybody ever attempted to do it and with what success or otherwise?

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        #4
        The first thing to do is check whether or not leaseholders will agree to dispense with s.20 so the work can be undertaken immediately. If the block is without reliable hot water I would have thought it is in the interest of all leaseholders to agree. If not, as others' suggested, apply to the FtT for dispensation and at the same time start a s.20 consultation. It is usually a good idea to go as far as you can with the process. The problem is, you may wait a long time for the FtT to arrange a hearing though in this case paper determination would suffice. Part to your application to the FtT will highlight the percentage of leaseholders that agree. If this is a majority it will help your case. You should also refer to the Daejan v Benson case. You will find details of this on the LEASE website. Overall, if leaseholders are not prejudiced, you may be able to dispense with s.20.

        Finally, you mention a contractor - ensure you obtain other estimates/quotations if you have not already.

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          #5
          Many thanks. I'll pass this on.

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            #6
            By how much does the proposed works exceed the £250 threshold ?

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              #7
              Originally posted by kolle View Post
              Our RMC is exploring whether it would be possible to bypass the Section 20 process by getting the agreement of all leaseholders to do so. Does anyone know if there is any precedent for this?
              It's definitely possible, and I would have no doubt that it will have happened in at least some smaller blocks.

              It would require 100% agreement though.

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                #8
                If you can document your tendering for the replacement works and show that you took every reasonable step to get the best price and can demonstrate the problems with the boiler and get a significant percentage of the lessees to support your stance, then you should feel confident in pressing ahead without Section 20 . In particular show your efforts to get a dialogue going with those who remain silent. Very important evidence will be on why the boiler cannot be repaired a couple of expert reports would be very useful indeed

                As vmart makes the point read the Daejan v Benson case - so any disgruntled lessee will need to show what losses they have incurred by you not consulting. The only argument that might be raised is could the boiler be repaired ? - thats why expert reports would assist

                But if you want to be 100% certain, then you will have to consider applying for dispensation or getting 100% approval.

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                  #9
                  s20 is not always followed, the Daejan v Benson case is a prime example, As others have said, you are allowed to seek dispensation, which can be obtained after the completion of the works as in the Daejan v Benson case. You are making an attempt to consult the leaseholders which works in your favour. Even if a leaseholder objects at a later stage, he/she would need to provide evidence of financial prejudice eg evidence that the boiler does not need to be replaced or that the replacement cost could be achieved at a lower price. If you are contacting the leaseholders and that leaseholder does not raise those points now, that would weaken his/her position. Others have given good advice that you should obtain independent reports and seek alternative quotes before proceeding,

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