The Section 20 consultation process involves three main notices that must be served on the leaseholders:
The first notice is the Notice of Intention and must be given to each leaseholder, describing the works, or saying where and when a description of the works may be inspected, stating the reasons for the works and specifying when and where observations and nominations for contractors should be sent. The expiry date for this is 30 days from the date of the notice. It should also inform the leaseholders of their right to nominate a contractor.
The second notice is the Notice of Estimates where the landlord must issue a statement to the leaseholders with two or more estimates, any responses and a summary of the observations. Any nominees’ estimate has to be included. As with the Notice of Intention, it must also state where and when the estimates can be inspected and where and when the observations must be sent, allowing 30 days.
The third notice, is the Notice of Award of Contract. This notice must be given within 21 days of entering into any contract but only if the chosen contractor did not provide the lowest estimate. It must state the reasons for awarding the contract. Although if a nominee contractor is chosen to carry out the works it might be prudent to serve a Notice of Award of Contract as it can still be objected to on the grounds of reasonableness.
If the strict procedure is not followed as above, you may only be able to recover £250 per leaseholder.
In addition to the prescribed notices; open dialogue and communication with leaseholders during the section 20 consultation procedure is vital to securing the necessary contributions to your planned projects.