If you’re a tenant or leaseholder paying a variable service charge, you’re obliged under the terms of your lease or tenancy agreement, to pay towards the cost of services, repairs, maintenance or improvements to your property and communal areas or facilities.
When we plan to carry out any one-off repairs (sometimes known as a ‘major works’) that will cost each person more than £250, or enter into a contract that will cost each person more than £100 per year, we are required by the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to consult with you first. These are known as ‘Section 20 consultations’.
When this happens, we’ll send you a letter that explains what works need doing, why and how and when you can provide your views and suggestions (known as ‘written observations’).
How you can respond
You can send us your written observations up to 30 days after you’ve received our initial letter. Your written observations can be about anything you feel is important to the work or contract, and you can tell us about companies you’d like us to get quotations from for the work. All this can help us get the best quality work at the best price.
Once we’ve fully considered all the written observations, we’ll send a further letter to everyone, which includes a summary of all the observations and details of what’ll happen next. It won’t include your personal details, but observations will be grouped together by block/area.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will this change what I pay for service charges?
If it’s a contract then yes it will. Once the consultation process has completed and we’ve appointed the contractor, the costs will be added to your service charges.
If it’s a one-off major work, we’ll write to you and let you know which company and quote we’ve selected for the work, and will include an invoice for your share of the cost. The letter will also tell you what will happen next.
I’m a leaseholder but others in my block rent their flat. Am I paying for their service charge?
No. The overall cost is split between all the properties in the block. For those who rent, their share for any building works comes out of the rent. For services received such as door entry maintenance, testing of fire alarms, both leaseholders and tenants pay their share through the service charge.
I don’t recognise the services in my block of flats or estate. Why are you writing to me?
We’ll send you a letter if we think the works or services we’re intending to carry out affect your home. Some services may not be as noticeable on a day-to-day basis, for example the checking of fire extinguishers. If you feel that you definitely don’t receive any of the services that we’re consulting you about, then please make a written observation and we’ll double check our information.
How do I make my comments/written observations?
Comments and observations must be made in writing. You can:
- Email these to us at LeaseholdServiceChargeTeam@settlegroup.org.uk
- Post them to the leasehold and service charge team, settle, Blackhorse Road, Letchworth Garden City, SG6 1HA
Please note your written observation only counts if:
- It’s submitted in response to a Section 20 consultation we’ve notified you of
- You submit your response before the consultation period ends (you’ll find the dates on the letter we send you)
Can I complain about a current issue that the consultation is referring to?
The consultation will be about intended works or services, so please contact our customer service team to let us know if you have an issue with the current service so we can sort it out.