Q&As

Where a landlord has carried out a section 20 consultation in respect of major works but a genuinely unforeseen issue needs to be addressed during the works: Can the landlord incur these extra costs and re-charge as service charge? Or Will the landlord have to apply for retrospective dispensation if no provision was made for these additional works/associated costs during the consultation procedure?

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Produced in partnership with Desmond Kilcoyne
Published on LexisPSL on 12/12/2018

The following Property Disputes Q&A produced in partnership with Desmond Kilcoyne provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Where a landlord has carried out a section 20 consultation in respect of major works but a genuinely unforeseen issue needs to be addressed during the works: Can the landlord incur these extra costs and re-charge as service charge? Or Will the landlord have to apply for retrospective dispensation if no provision was made for these additional works/associated costs during the consultation procedure?

Where a landlord is proposing major works—which are ‘qualifying works’ for the purposes of section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (LTA 1985)—if an unforeseen issue arises (so that some unforeseen work, and therefore extra unforeseen cost, is necessary), the general rule in LTA 1985, s 20 applies. As regards those unforeseen works (and the cost therefore), there will have been no consultation; therefore, the relevant contributions of tenants are limited to £250 (unless the consultation requirements are subsequently complied with; or there is dispensation).

The unforeseen works do not invalidate the whole of the consultation. The consultation is only at risk of being ineffective in relation to the unforeseen works and their cost.

Further, as regards those unforeseen works, there may be no need to do a further (small) consultation in relation to the unforeseen works. In Reedbase v Fattal, L was obliged to repair a roof located under some tiled terraces. The costs of the works was in excess of £300K and L duly consulted on the works (under Service Charges (Consultation Requirements) (England) Regulations 2003, SI 2003/1987, Sch 4 Pt 2). Because of

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