Section 20 - notice service for major works

Ensure that you are legally compliant and can recover ALL of the costs

As experienced freeholders, we have a track record of successfully managing section 20 consultations.

Contact us today to discuss your major works project

Call: 01245 227 920 to speak to an adviser now

Reason for contacting us

We’ll prepare & serve all of the required notices

We’ll liaise with you throughout the process

You’ll be legally compliant & able to recover costs

You’ll pay a low-cost, fixed fee & save lots of time

Section 20 Consultation process for major works

Stage 1

Issue a Section 20 Notice of intention to carry out major works to a residential freehold

Stage 2

Issue a Section 20 Notice of statement of estimates in relation to proposed works

Stage 3

Issue a Section 20 Notice of reasons following statement of estimates

If the freeholder does not need to send the stage 3 notice, they simply need to write to the leaseholders to provide a suitable explanation for which contractor has been selected, together with a schedule and costs for the works.

While there is a mandatory time-frame of 30-days for responding to the first two notices in the consultation, it is good practice to extend this to 35-days to allow for postage delays.

On completion of the Section 20 Consultation process, you will need to write to the leaseholders to confirm the names of the appointed contractors, confirmation of the costs of the works, the amount payable by each leaseholder, and the date that the works will start.

Please be aware that if this procedure is not followed correctly, freeholders will only be entitled to recover £250 from each leaseholder in respect of the major works. The content on this page is a summary of the Section 20 legislation. Please refer to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 as amended by the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 for full instructions. 

If you are unsure about any element of the Section 20 Notice procedure, it is advisable to seek independent legal advice. It can certainly be a very challenging and time-consuming task, particularly when there are a number of items of work required and multiple leaseholders to correspond with. 

Frequently Asked Questions

The Section 20 Notice forms part of a three-stage consultation procedure. This enables leaseholders to provide their observations, any objections to the works, and to nominate contractors from whom the freeholder should obtain estimates. If leaseholders feel that the freeholder is requesting excessive or unreasonable sums for the works, they can apply to the First-Tier Tribunal for a determination of liability to pay and the reasonableness of any service charges demanded.

Section 20 Notices must be served in accordance with what is stated in the lease for the property. This is typically 1st class mail or recorded delivery. It is advisable to only send Section 20 Notices via email as an additional form of service.

The process for issuing Section 20 Notices is typically dictated by the lease for the property. However, the common requirement is for Section 20 Notices to be served via 1st class mail to the leaseholder’s property. Alternatively, the lease may require service of Section 20 Notices via recorded delivery.

Technically, a Section 20 Notice cannot expire. Although there is no specified time limit for the service of a Section 20 Notice, the relevant works should not be delayed as there is a risk that changes can take place, amounting to a breach of the consultation requirements.

A Section 20 Notice of Intention informs leaseholders that the freeholder of the building in which they own a property wishes to carry out major works. As leaseholders are typically required to cover the cost for works, the Section 20 Notice procedure provides them with an opportunity to decide how their money is spent.

Qualifying works under Section 20 are any maintenance or repairs to a residential freehold property where the contribution from any one leaseholder will exceed £250.

Section 20 Notices require careful attention to detail and if served incorrectly, could prevent the landlord from collecting contributions from the leaseholders for major works. We recommend seeking assistance from industry professionals or a qualified solicitor if you do not know how to serve Section 20 Notices. Request our free Section 20 templates here.

A Section 20 notice is issued by the landlord to the tenants (leaseholders) for one of two reasons; to notify tenants of their intention to carry out works; or to notify the tenants of their intention to enter into a long-term agreement for services at the property.

If the freeholder is unable to obtain all the required quotes within the timeframe, they must issue  the second notice with an explanation as to why quotes have not been obtained and then, once they do receive the quotes, they must send the cost information to the leaseholders within 21 days of the freeholder having received the quote information.

We do not currently provide a service for Section 20 Notices, however this may be something that we offer in the future.

You can download a free Section 20 Notice template directly from our website here.

No, you do not need a solicitor to prepare and serve Section 20 Notices to leaseholders so long as you feel confident in doing it yourself. To help you, we have created free Section 20 Notice templates that you can download directly from our website.

The Section 20 Consultation procedure consists of three stages. Each stage requires the freehold to serve a different Section 20 Notice to leaseholders. On receipt of each Section 20 Notice, leaseholders are given 30-days to respond. Therefore, the Section 20 Consultation process can take several months to complete before any major works can actually take place.

Yes, we provide a template for each stage of the Section 20 consultation procedure. You will receive all three templates directly to your email inbox by completing a simple contact form. Get your templates here.

Section 20 Notices can be served for mimimal cost if handled by the landlord. However, if you seek assistance from a professional service provider, they may charge by the hour. We would advise you to seek a quote in order to help with your decision.

If you fail to serve Section 20 Notices and you go ahead with works, you will only be entitled to recover £250 from each leaseholder after the event. Learn more about organising major works here.

The leases usually dictate that it is the leaseholder’s responsbility to pay for major works to the building. Learn more about organising repairs and major works here.

Thinking of selling your freehold ground rents? ​

If you’re looking to sell freehold ground rents of any size across England and Wales, contact Freehold Sale today. We provide a fast and efficient buying service, so that you can dispose of your freehold interest quickly and release your tied-up capital. Plus, we’ll buy any existing problems along with the freehold, such as ground rent arrears, maintenance issues and ongoing disputes.

Free resources for freeholders

We also offer a free template and low-cost service for Section 166, which will enable you to formally collect ground rent from your tenants (leaseholders). You will also be able to issue backdated demands for unpaid rent for up to six years.

If you’ve just purchased a freehold property, you may benefit from our free Section 3 Notice template, which informs tenants of the assignment of landlord’s interest. You are legally required to serve this notice to your tenants, even if the previous landlord has done so. 

For informative articles, tips and advice for freeholders, head over to our Resources Page