Major Works and Section 20

Trusted advice on the procedure, documentation and requirements of Section 20 and support with dispensation applications

The principal legislation relating to major works is Section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.  Section 20 is fleshed out by the Service Charges (Consultation Requirements) (England) Regulations 2003.  Section 20 requires the landlord/management company to consult with lesses where it carries out works and the service charge contribution of any long residential lessee to the cost of those works is more than £250.00. In certain circumstances, for example where there are under-leases from a head-lessee who is then the flat owners’ immediate landlord, we can advise on whether it may be necessary to apply for dispensation from the requirement to carry out a consultation, or when the freeholder should consult with both the head-lessee and the leaseholders.
With our unparalleled knowledge of leasehold law, we have extensive experience in advising landlords and managing agents on the issues relating to Section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.   From the standard form of notices through to dispensation, we can provide assistance before, during or after the event.
We provide advice and representation for Landlords and Managing Agents on:
  • whether Section 20 applies.
  • the consultation process and the necessary notices 
  • applications for dispensation of the requirements of Section 20
  • the recovery of service charges which comprise Section 20 monies
 With the recent issues relating to fire safety and cladding, significant programmes of major works are front and centre in many property manager's minds.  To provide reassurance that we can help, here are a few of the cases dealt with recently:
  • Advised a landlord client in respect of Section 20 issues relating to a cladding and roof repair project the total cost of which is to exceed £10M.  We are also acting for the landlord in the recovery of various tenants’ contributions to the said cost.  To date we have recovered a total of more than £1M of arrears.
  • Successfully obtained (on behalf of a landlord client) dispensation from the requirements of Section 20 in respect of emergency cladding repairs to a large block in the North West.  The cost of the repairs was considerable and the case was both factually and legally complicated.  Case Name: Pemberstone Reversions (5) Limited v Various Lessees at Cartier House (MAN/00DA/LDC/2017/0008).
  • Successfully obtained (on behalf of a landlord client) dispensation of the requirements of Section 20 in respect of the urgent repair of a fire exit (which had fallen into a dangerous state of disrepair).  Dispensation was obtained within less than 6 weeks of the date of our instruction. 
  • JB Leitch recently acted on behalf of a landlord client in an application to the First-tier Tribunal under Section 20ZA of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. The application for urgent dispensation was made in respect of the installation of the fire alarm system and introduction of fire marshals. Read the case summary here.

Who to contact

Karen Bolland
Business Development Director


Philip Parkinson
Legal Director


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