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Major works and Section 20 notices

You may receive Section 20 notices from our Home Ownership Team from time-to time. This page includes information on what a Section 20 is, the different types of notices, upcoming consultations and how to make observations on our proposals via our online observations form.

What is a Section 20 notice?

We’re legally-obliged to issue a Section 20 (S20) notice to let you know about certain proposed works or services planned at your building or estate.

The S20 notice will explain what work is planned, why it’s being carried out and the anticipated costs, and give you the chance to comment on the plans; these are called ‘observations’.

The type of notice you receive will be determined by the anticipated cost of the works and whether or not we plan to use a contractor with whom we already have a long-term agreement (see below). We issue S20 notices for major works or qualifying long-term contracts.

Major works

Major works are repairs, decoration, improvements or refurbishments that we need to carry out to keep buildings or estates in a good state of repair and to prolong their life. They don’t include things like internal decoration of a flat or house, which are the responsibility of individual customers. You can find out more on our Major works page.

We must go through a S20 consultation when the cost of major works being charged back to customers is more than £250 per home.

Qualifying long-term contracts

Qualifying long-term contracts last longer than 12 months and cover things like grounds maintenance, reactive repairs and servicing of equipment. They apply when customers are likely to be asked to contribute more than £100 a year, usually via annual service charges.

What do Section 20 notices have to do with my service charge?

When we buy goods and services to help us maintain our properties, we get your feedback using the S20s, and then establish a contract. Once signed, the cost of the contract is divided between tenants based on many factors, and appears as an item on the service charge statement.

Often these contracts last for years, which is why S20s are such a good opportunity to have your say. These items may appear on your service charge statement for years to come.

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Different types of S20 notices

Schedule 3

Where we’ve got a long term agreement with a contractor (or group of contractors) to carry out major works, we ask the contractor(s) to quote for individual projects. Once we’ve received these quotes, we’ll carry out a one-stage Schedule 3 S20 consultation with affected customers, outlining the costs. Consultation will last a minimum of 30 days.

Schedule 4 (Part 1)

If the cost of the planned work is more than £118,000, we’re bound by UK procurement rules to advertise the contract using a public notice on the ‘Find a tender’ website. We’ll then follow a two stage Schedule 4 S20 consultation process, with each stage lasting a minimum of 30 days.

  • The Stage 1 notice gives customers the chance to make observations, but you won’t be able to nominate a contractor
  • The Stage 2 notice will give customers the estimated costs from the tenders we receive.

Schedule 4 (Part 2)

If we plan to carry out work using a contractor with whom we don’t have a long term agreement, and if the cost of the planned work is less than £118,000,  we don’t have to advertise the contract on the ‘Find a tender’ website, but we do have to go through a full tendering process. In this case, we’ll follow a two stage Schedule 4 S20 consultation, with each stage lasting a minimum of 30 days.

  • The Stage 1 notice will give customers the chance to make observations and you have the right to nominate a contractor
  • The Stage 2 notice will give customers the estimated costs from the tenders we receive.

Examples of S20 notices (PDF, 327KB)

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Upcoming and ongoing consultations

Consultation notice

Who will receive this?

What is it for?

When will you receive this?

Cleaning and Grounds Maintenance stage 2

All tenants and home owners

A new framework of contractors to provide cleaning and grounds maintenance services

August 2022

Fire and Security stage 2

All tenants and home owners of flats or maisonettes 

A new framework of contractors to provide fire and security works and services in our buildings

August 2022

Building safety framework stage 1

All tenants and home owners of flats or masionettes where a lift is in place 

A new framework of contractors to provide building safety works and services in our buildings

June 2022

Frequently asked questions 

  • What type of work could be covered by a Section 20 notice?
    • Internal or external redecoration and repair
    • Structural works
    • Roofing and rainwater goods (guttering, drainage, pipework)
    • Windows and doors
    • Communal lighting (including estate lighting)
    • CCTV
    • Digital TV aerials
    • Door entry system
    • Vehicle barrier gates and bollards
    • Lifts
    • Mechanical ventilation
    • Fire equipment (dry risers, fire extinguishers)
    • Cavity wall Insulation
    • Communal boilers.
  • Why don’t you bill customers for this work via service charges?

    We’re responsible for day-to-day repairs to buildings and estates and usually recover these costs through the annual service charge.

    However, as larger, one-off, works cost more than the S20 threshold of £250 per home, we’re legally required to consult with customers before starting work, separately from the service charges.

  • How can I give you my views on the Section 20 notice?

    Each consultation period will last for a minimum of 30 days from the date of the notice. Customers and Recognised Tenants Associations (RTAs) can make ‘Observations’ during that time and we give these ‘due regard’ before being able to progress to the next stage, ie we should reply to all of your observations within 21 days.

    Observations can be made in writing via post, fax, email or by using our online form. We’re happy to discuss the proposed work by phone or in person but any observations won’t be formally recorded unless we receive them in writing.

  • When will work be carried out?

    Except in the case of emergency repairs, work can’t start until the end of the consultation period and until we’ve given ‘due regard’ to any observations made, ie we should reply to all of your observations within 21 days.

  • Can I decide work isn’t needed on my home?

    Any work covered by a Section 20 notices will be communal and so it’s not possible for customers to be excluded.

  • Will you choose the cheapest price for the work?

    Not necessarily. Although cost is important, we must also consider other factors to ensure we pick the most suitable contractor. This means we take into account staff qualifications, experience, the size of the workforce, health and safety procedures and insurance.

  • How’s my share of the cost calculated?

    We’ll bill you based on the terms of your lease or tenancy agreement, which could be based on rateable value, floor area, percentage split or, most commonly, an equal split between all homes in a building.

  • Will you add any additional fees?

    We’ll charge a management fee for administering the contract, the S20 process and final accounts billing. This is based on a percentage of the total cost of the work and may be stated in your lease or tenancy agreement; if it isn’t the fee we pass on will be reasonable.

    For some projects, such as replacing lifts, we may need to employ external consultants and will recharge their fees on top of the cost of work.

    Please note that VAT is fully rechargeable to customers.

  • Will I have to pay my share of the full estimated amount in the S20 notice?

    Not necessarily. In many cases, the building’s sinking fund will cover the cost of the work. While your lease or tenancy agreement will allow us to recover costs based on the estimate, we don’t currently bill major works in that way (although this may be subject to change and we reserve the right to charge on estimates in the future).

  • When will I have to pay?

    We’ll ask you to pay when work has been finished and the final account has been signed off. We’ll let you know how much you have to pay and the deadline for payments.

  • Will any previous sinking fund contributions I’ve made be taken into account?

    Yes. The cost of work will be reduced by any sinking fund contributions. If the sinking fund is more than the cost of the work, then we won’t ask you to pay any more, but we’ll send you a final account to let you know how much money we’re taking out of the fund.

  • Why are you passing on the costs of replacing the windows in my flat?

    Windows are our responsibility in most of our leases because they are often considered to be part of the building’s structure. In these cases, we’ll maintain the windows and recharge the costs to customers in the same way as a lift or roof repair.

  • I don’t think I’m directly benefitting from the service - do I still have to contribute to the costs?

    Anything that comes under our responsibility as the landlord is classed as communal and therefore recharged to everyone in the building. For example, people living on the ground floor of a multi-storey building still need to contribute to the cost of lift maintenance.

  • What if I plan to sell my home before the works are finished or you bill me?

    As part of the standard pre-assignment process, the solicitor of the prospective buyer would usually contact the seller’s solicitor asking for certain information regarding the property. This would include whether there were any known works planned.

    Assuming the sale completes before billing, the new homeowner would be responsible for settling any outstanding charges. A retention fee may be set aside between the two sets of solicitors to cover this amount. However, this isn’t a matter for Hyde and we expect any amounts to be settled by the owner at the time of billing.

  • I only bought my flat after work was finished. Do I still have to pay?

    We expect any outstanding amounts to be paid by the owner at the time of billing. retention fee may be set aside between the two sets of solicitors involved in the sale to cover this amount. However, this isn’t a matter for Hyde.

  • Can I challenge the costs of major works once you’ve billed me?

    You have the right to challenge the costs and can ask for supporting documentation, such as invoices and cost breakdowns. If you believe the charges are unreasonable, you can submit an application to the First-Tier Tribunal for a determination on the reasonableness of costs.

  • What if I can’t pay or wish to discuss repayment?

    Please get in touch with our income team on 0800 3282 282.

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