Section 20

Comply with the consultation process for major works

Section 20 Notice templates - free to download

What is a Section 20 Notice?

A Section 20 Notice is a document that must be served to all leaseholders when carrying out qualifying works to a residential freehold property. Such works can include repairs or maintenance to any building containing flats. However, in order for these works to qualify for Section 20 Notices to be served, the financial contribution from any one leaseholder must exceed £250. As such, this type of maintenance or repair work would be defined as ‘major works’ and will therefore require the Section 20 Consultation process to be followed. 

The formal Section 20 Consultation procedure is prescribed by the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (as amended by the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002), It consists of three-stages, each requiring a different Section 20 Notice to be served to leaseholders. The aim of the Section 20 Consultation process is to provide leaseholders with an opportunity to decide how their money is spent. Freeholders on the other hand, will gain reassurance that they can recover the cost of these major works to their freehold property.

How do I get a Section 20 Notice template?

To obtain a free, Section 20 Notice template, simply complete the required information in the contact form on this page. You will then instantly receive an email containing three, downloadable templates for each stage of the Section 20 consultation process. 

How do I prepare a Section 20 Notice?

There are three Section 20 Notices that must be served to leaseholders at different stages throughout the consultation procedure. Each Notice contains different information and allows leaseholders a set amount of time to respond with their comments. If freeholders fail to follow this formal process as dictated by Landlord and Tenant Law, they may not be able to collect funds to cover the entire cost of the major works. It is therefore critical to follow the three-stage Section 20 consultation process outlined below.

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Section 20 Consultation process

Stage 1 – Issue a Section 20 Notice of intention to carry out major works to a residential freehold

  • Lists the items of work required at the property
  • Gives your reasons for why you consider it necessary to carry out the work
  • Invites comments in relation to proposed works
  • Invites contractor nominations to provide an estimate for the works
  • Provides 30-days’ notice to the leaseholders to respond

Stage 2- Issue a Section 20 Notice of  statement of estimates in relation to proposed works

  • Provides a summary of at least two estimates for each item of work
  • Details where the estimates may be inspected or how they can be obtained
  • Invites written observations in relation to the estimates 
  • Provides a summary of the comments received following the notice of intention to carry out works
  • Provides 30-days’ notice to the leaseholders to respond

Stage 3 – Issue a Section 20 Notice of leaseholder observations following statement of estimates

  • Includes observations made by each leaseholder
  • Includes any responses the freeholder would like to make to those comments
  • Advises the leaseholders that you will write further to confirm which contractor(s) you have appointed

On completion of the Section 20 Consultation process, you will need to confirm the names of the appointed contractors and the date that the works will start by writing to the leaseholders. 

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. 

Therefore, 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. 


Need some help with organising major works?

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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.

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 (leaseholders), even if the previous landlord has done so.