Section 20 Notice – What is this? Part 2

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  • Section 20 Notice – What is this? Part 2

If I have a resident’s management company? Or a right to manage company? Should I be served with a Section 20 Notice?

Yes, of course. You would still go through the standard legal process. This is the process for carrying out major works. The procedure can be dispensed with. However, only in rare cases. You would have to get an order from a tribunal or a court.

The procedure is prescribed. It is detailed by the Government. Failure to do so can lead to some form of penalty.

If the freeholder does not serve the relevant notices’ then they are not able to recover more than £250.00 per leaseholder. If there were four flats no more than £1,000.00. So, if £10,000.00 of work was done without consulting, they would only be entitled to £1,000.00 back. It is so important then that the freeholder serves the correct notices and in the correct format.

If you haven’t already please see our previous article part 1.

What is the procedure?

A Section 20 Consultation must be carried out. This must be if the works are more than £250.00 per lessee.

There are three stages in total to be done: –

Stage 1

Serve a Notice of intention to carry out works. The Notice must be served. Setting out what works are proposed. Why they need doing. They should provide any comments. There would then be a nomination of contractors from leaseholders. There are very set notices within the provisions of the Act. These should be considered when serving any such notice. You may wish to consult a solicitor or a professional in this regard.

Stage 2

This is the statement of estimates.

This is once estimating for the works have been obtained. The notice must be served to all leaseholders detailing the costs, how to inspect them and inviting any comments. There has to be a minimum of two estimates for any such work together with details of the work itself. The estimates are served with such a notice. The freeholder can specify dates where and when documents can be inspected. These must be reasonable.

A freeholder does have a duty to pay regard to what you have given by way of observations. If the freeholder receives written observations during the consultation, they have a duty to take them into account. The law does not define unfortunately “have regard to”. It basically means that they must look at the written observations. They must do a response within 21 days.

Where work is being queried by tenants or a nominated contractor is requested. The freeholder doesn’t have to use a nominated contractor or accept the lowest estimate. Within 21 days of entering the contract the freeholder must give a written statement. This must include the reasons for awarding the contract. There is then a stage 3 which we will come onto later. They must provide facilities for the tenants where they can inspect the statement of estimates. If at any point the freeholder and/or managing agent does not lay out any of the procedures then they cannot recover the money.

Stage 3

Notice of reason.

Once a contract is awarded. The freeholder must serve a notice. If they did not choose the cheapest estimate or a contractor nominated by the lessees. They must explain why they chose that particular option. They must have a very good commercial or particular reason for not choosing the cheapest quote. For instance, they may say that whilst the quote is cheap it does not consider it. This may then require extras on the contract. Bringing the quote up to previously what was laid out by another contractor. Ie the quotes are comparable.

How long does this consultation take?

For the stages of 1 and 2 all the leaseholders must have at least 30 days. They can then make to any comments. It sometimes takes longer to get estimates obtained. It can take up to at least two to three months as a minimum. RICS guidelines for managing agents does allow for delays in the post. This can be over and above the 30 days.

So, the leaseholders have at least 30 days to respond to the Notice of Intention served at the pre-tender stage.

The tenants have a further 30 days from the notice of intention of statement of estimates to make any further comments. If the cheapest quote is then accepted the work is then instructed.

What if I dispute the works required and want to object to a Notice?

In the first instance you should talk to a solicitor before you do anything further. Section 20 Notices can be very complicated. It is important that you get the best advice.

There is a first tier Tribunal that can refer this to, to decide on whether it is reasonable or not. Tribunals role in dealing with service charge dispute is to determine whether the charge is payable. They also then consider if it is reasonable.

These issues can either be heard together or separately. Either a leaseholder or a landlord can apply for determinations on the following: –

  1. Whether the service charge is payable
    To whom it is payable
    3. The amount which is payable
    4. The date which it is payable
    5. The way it is payable

An application can be made in respect of any charges. These relate to anything that has been levied on the maintenance account. Or anything that is proposed to be charged. Payment of the charge does not amount to an agreement or admission by a leaseholder that the charge is payable. But you should consult a solicitor on this.

The first tier Tribunal will resolve the dispute.  Any uncertainties on whether a leaseholder is liable to pay the service charge. They will decide on whether it is also reasonable for the service charge. They can deal with any issues or liability before these need to be addressed and paid.

Determinations can be laid out for various different applications such as: –

  1. a) Whether the costs have reasonably been incurred
    b) Whether the works have been done or the services have been or are presently being provided
    c) Whether the works or services are of a reasonable standard
    d) Whether there is an interim charge before costs can be incurred and it is reasonable
    e) Whether the costs would be reasonable
    f) Whether the services are proposed in the future
    g) What amount can be charged on account
    h) Various different situations and scenarios for leaseholders and freeholders/managing agent.

They can also determine on whether works were required at all. Whether they were enough to remedy a problem. If they were adequate works. Even if an element of the work was either neglected or mismanaged by the freeholder. Were there genuine grounds for extra works of an urgent nature. Were procedures followed and lots of different aspects of a dispute particularly within the content of a lease.

You will find that most leases are different. They are laid out differently. However, they do inform how freeholders are entitled to charge. Section 20 Notices can only be dispensed with by a first tier Tribunal when urgent works are required. So, if major works have taken place you have the right to object. If they were not served properly you have the right to object.

The above is only a guide. You should take legal advice. But the same Act also provided legislation for flat owners to run their own affairs. This is known as Right to Manage. They make their own decisions about management and upkeep of flats. This included dealing with expenditure such as insurance repairs and service charges by way of a Right to manage company.

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Cat Westmacott
Cat Westmacott
17:57 10 Jun 24
Generally helpful for Lettings. As with any company, sometimes need a push for a response, but often easier to speak on the phone than email. Feeling hopeful for the next year’s contract with Harringtons🤞.
Kirsty Turner
Kirsty Turner
20:50 04 Jun 24
Great experience. Everyone is so lovely and helpful over the phone at Harringtons! The best experience we have had with a letting agent in Brighton, none of the other agents in Brighton have been bothered to keep in touch and help us find a property as much as these guys. A special shoutout to the lovely lady who showed me around the flat (Georgie I believe -sorry if I got that wrong), great at answering all my questions and been very lucky in securing the first property we viewed with her (an amazing spacious flat that has everything we need - including nice storage space for our paddleboards!) Looking forward to moving into our seaside home. Thank you!
Shadan B
Shadan B
23:31 30 May 24
Great experience, very helpful staff and friendly. I wish you all the success. Thanks for your care. 💐😊
Rachel Roberts
Rachel Roberts
21:13 30 May 24
Best experience I've had with a letting agent!
Charley Besant
Charley Besant
10:25 30 May 24
So far the process with Harringtons has been amazing. We viewed 3 properties with Georgie and each time she was so informative and kind, she gave us the time we needed in each property to look around, take videos and ask questions about everything. The whole process has been easy so far and I can now happily say we found our property thanks to Georgie and the team at Harringtons.
Ainhoa Negro
Ainhoa Negro
09:15 30 May 24
Georgie at Harringtons Lettings in Brighton has been exceptional throughout my rental process. From the very beginning, her professionalism and friendliness stood out. She provided clear and prompt communication, ensuring all my questions were answered thoroughly. Georgie made the entire experience seamless, from viewing properties to finalizing the paperwork. Her attention to detail and genuine care for my needs made me feel confident and supported. I highly recommend Georgie and Harringtons Lettings to anyone looking for a top-notch rental experience in Brighton.
PRBL1
PRBL1
09:11 30 May 24
Joel Starcross
Joel Starcross
15:22 29 May 24
Beth has been an excellent agent, great communicator and enthusiastic member of the team. Highly recommended!
Jess Pond
Jess Pond
13:16 29 May 24
Had an absolutely awful experience with this company. Told me one thing on the phone and then told me another thing on email. Very mixed messages. Left 7 students homeless by putting the house back on the market with only 24 hour notice. Will never use them again. AVOID!
Roisin Lilley
Roisin Lilley
11:42 24 May 24
I recently had some problems with my previous agent and came to Beth for help! She took over the correspondence for me and sorted everything out for me! I can’t thank her enough for her patience and help!! I’d highly recommend her to other landlords that need help!
Chris Lilley
Chris Lilley
11:26 24 May 24
I’ve been a tenant with Harringtons Lettings for a while, they are great, they always sort out any issues I have quickly and efficiently, Beth in particular is really helpful and I’ll be going to her for my next rental property when I look to move in September!
Georgina Palzeaird
Georgina Palzeaird
11:21 24 May 24
Beth Roberts was a huge help when I needed to switch to a new letting agency. She was friendly and efficient and I’ve always felt I’m in safe hands.
Eliya Halim
Eliya Halim
10:26 24 May 24
Top service
Maryana Atiya
Maryana Atiya
10:20 24 May 24
Rees Harper
Rees Harper
17:53 21 May 24
Lauryn Keller
Lauryn Keller
15:20 03 May 24
Georgie was great on our viewing - super lovely, informative and honest. Thank you!
Sammi Richmond
Sammi Richmond
09:16 24 Apr 24
Well, they just contacted me via email asking for a review for money... so here, I guess.Does 3 stars get me that tenner? Probably not. Nothing terrible to say, but never had any issues with the property really. Don't enjoy that they were willing to pay for reviews though, seems sketchy.UPDATE: As the business has finally replied to my review 6 years later, I thought I would mention that I indeed have the email still as proof. Offer of £10 for a review, and to mention Rachel Erridge in the review. Also a prize of £200 to one lucky winner. The email was sent from the Harrington's admin email address. I can email the proof to whoever requests it.
Jayden Charles-Frempong
Jayden Charles-Frempong
01:20 18 Apr 24
Every interaction I've had so far with Harrington has been positive with workers responding to calls very quickly and addressing any queries efficiently.
severin severinov
severin severinov
10:05 11 Apr 24
It is very good that they do their job professionally and take care of the customers.
kate quick
kate quick
13:15 09 Apr 24
I am very happy and extremely grateful to have found Harringtons lettings and the beautiful flat that I am now living in. Not only is the flat perfect for me, ticks all the boxes and is in a great location; the whole communication/admin process was so fast and efficient. I spoke to many of the team, but the two main contacts initially were Georgie and Beth. Great personalities, friendly and fast at replying to emails and phone calls. It was all turned around very quickly and everyone at Harringtons seems to appear to really be happy in their jobs. Great letting agent and I would recommend them to others looking for a new home.
Michael Hollamby
Michael Hollamby
12:32 09 Apr 24
Having worked with many many lettings it has been refreshing to deal with such a dynamic and energetic team. From start to finish the team have outstanding. Special mention to Beth who has been fantastic. I can thoroughly recommend using Harringtons.
Celyn James
Celyn James
17:08 27 Mar 24
Great experience, Georgie was so knowledgeable and kind with any enquiries I had. Really put me at ease while house hunting, amazing service thank you so much!!
Madison Harris
Madison Harris
14:29 27 Mar 24
Georgie was so helpful and really kind very appreciative x
Amber-Rose Cook
Amber-Rose Cook
08:58 22 Mar 24
easy to use and navigate as a first time user
Buffy Vaughn
Buffy Vaughn
18:06 21 Mar 24
Harringtons have been so helpful so far. Everyone we’ve spoken to on the phone including Georgie have been so warm and receptive and easy to communicate with. As a couple renting together for first time me & Danny couldn’t have found better people to help us out, they’re clear and concise. We discovered them through Rightmove and would highly recommend anyone to use their services to rent with.Thanks guys!Buffy & Danny
Sajan Raja
Sajan Raja
01:48 21 Mar 24
Kerryn Johnson
Kerryn Johnson
16:58 18 Mar 24
Georgie was absolutely amazing! Very helpful, easy to talk to and all in all an absolute sweetheart. Made the process of renting and finding a property less stressful. Always happy to help and lovely to chat to!Thank you again for everything!
Julia Reinstein
Julia Reinstein
11:22 18 Mar 24
5/5 - Everyone I’ve spoken to on the phone has been so friendly and patient with our move in documents. We found Harringtons through Rightmove, and have been really happy with our interactions. The team respond to queries efficiently and are happy to answer any and all questions.
Andrew Brown
Andrew Brown
07:09 15 Mar 24
A really excellent agency, who are very easy and friendly to deal with. Highly recommended.
Rob Rainbird
Rob Rainbird
18:04 13 Mar 24
Lovely staff and all round positive experience - Georgie is an absolute diamond and a credit to the team!
Tori Tor
Tori Tor
11:15 08 Mar 24
Harringtons have been really helpful and very swift with their responses. Georgie was very proffesional and really friendly when she did the viewings with me and Beth on the phone was again really helpful and gave me hope when I was explaining my eagerness to find somewhere new to live. Thanks Harringtons!
christos papanicolaou
christos papanicolaou
09:33 07 Mar 24
Staff were brilliant. Very helpful
Yasmin Bright
Yasmin Bright
20:54 01 Mar 24
I'm in a difficult situation at the moment with my landlord wanting to sell the flat that myself and my 3 children have been living in for 7 years. I came across Harringtons Viewings by applying to view some properties outside of my area.Unfortunately I haven't been able to sort anything with Harringtons, however I wanted to write this to say that they have been nothing but kind, warm and very understanding of my situation. I've been really impressed by their customer service (namely Georgie & Beth) and hope that they are able to find me something eventually!Thanks so much.Yasmin
Tegan
Tegan
17:30 22 Feb 24
Have been very accommodating and helpful when calling agents. They have been very helpful in being able to secure a house for students.
TheFlyingCrocodile
TheFlyingCrocodile
16:42 21 Feb 24
Went above and beyond to get things sorted for me
Brittany Stace
Brittany Stace
11:18 24 Jan 24
Harringtons have been incredibly helpful and supportive of us as new renters and they have been super efficient in getting all of the documents sent through and signed in such a short period of time. Thank you!
Georgie Prebble
Georgie Prebble
20:36 05 Jan 24
Jade Innes
Jade Innes
10:24 04 Jan 24
So far the service has been good. The staff are very friendly and quick to respond to any questions and requests.
Polly Smith
Polly Smith
11:17 28 Dec 23
we chose this letting agents as they chose a good bills company that is much cheaper than other agents. When viewing houses the staff were very friendly and have been very helpful in answering our questions and making the process as easy as possible.
Emma Howe
Emma Howe
16:06 14 Nov 23
I would rate Harringtons Lettings a 5/5. Very lovely on the phone and very quick and easy to communicate with via email. Any problems have been resolved in no time at all. So far so good!I found Harringtons via Rightmove.
Akwisitions Feedback
Akwisitions Feedback
16:25 30 Oct 23
Very responsive and super helpful throughout the process. Highly recommended!
Chloe Ballard
Chloe Ballard
17:28 02 Oct 23
Although I have only been renting with Harringtons for a short period of time, I have had nothing but a positive experience. From viewing to admin updates. The admin team especially are very polite and quick to respond and I have no doubt that the rest of my tenancy will run smoothly. I would recommend to anyone considering renting in brighton.
Matthew Ball
Matthew Ball
11:46 19 Sep 23
Professional communication with tenant although entirely impersonal. There was a bigger disconnect in their communication with the landlord in most cases, which seemed to be either slow or non-existent (discovered after contacting the landlord directly).Property was full of spider webs on day 1 despite apparently being professionally cleaned. Took a day off of work to clean it on move out day, leaving it cleaner than when it received but still had to pay part of the deposit for professional cleaning.It has been a while since I have rented, but I'll avoid letting agencies completely now if this is anything close to the average renting experience.
Ronan SK
Ronan SK
12:38 12 Sep 23
Great professionalism/communciation from the start up until the end of my tenancy. Definitely set the standards for what agencies should be like. Highly recommend to those within Brighton.
Daniel Sutton
Daniel Sutton
10:29 24 Aug 23
I have rented with Harringtons Lettings before and have always found the agents to be quick, efficient, friendly and helpful. I loved their service so much I have chosen to rent with Harringtons again. Faultless 😊
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