Importance of consultation by Landlords - don't get caught out!

The Importance of Consultation for Landlords – don’t get caught out by the law.

It’s the time of year when as a Landlord you start to plan what jobs need completing in the year ahead.

If you are the owner of a property, which has tenants who hold a leasehold interest under a long lease, then by S20 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985, you are required to consult with them before you carry out any major works to the property that you want to charge the tenant for under the terms of their lease. These are known as “qualifying works”.

Long leases of up to 999 years are typical for flats, where two or more properties share the same roof, or other communal areas, or where the landlord retains responsibility for maintaining the structure of the building, repair of windows amongst other things.

Suzie Fisher, Chartered Legal Executive, of Thomson Hayton Winkley states:

“If the landlord does not follow the consultation requirements, or successfully obtain dispensation, then the most the landlord can recover from the tenant for the cost of the qualifying works is £250, even if the work itself has cost thousands of pounds.

Briefly the landlord needs to: Give the tenant written notice of the works, nominate contractors and invite the tenant to make observations; permit the tenants opportunity to nominate their own contractors; obtain estimates and again give the tenants the opportunity to make observations and have regard to those observations; give notice of entering into a contract to proceed with the works.

The purpose of this consultation process is to ensure that tenants are protected from paying for inappropriate works, or paying more than is appropriate.”

If the landlord wishes to dispense with this consultation process, they can make application to the Property Chamber, First Tier Tribunal. The Tribunal will look at a number of factors including whether the tenant has been prejudiced by the landlord’s failure to consult. The burden is on the landlord and the tribunal may be sympathetic to the tenant’s case if prejudice can be shown.

Failure to consult can therefore be very costly for landlords. We advise that landlords should take advice before going ahead with such qualifying works.

For further information please contact Suzie Fisher@thwlegal.co.uk

Published 17 September 2019

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