Major works are large 'one-off' projects designed to extend and improve the life of your building. They include replacing old windows or replacing a broken lift. Major works are payable under the terms of your lease. Major works are technically also a service charge, but one that is subject to a more rigorous form of consultation.
The way in which we have to consult you is set out in law, and is referred to as Section 20 Consultation.
Section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (amended by the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002) tells us we must formally consult with you if we wish to recharge you more than £250 for major works to your building.
How we calculate your contribution
To work out your share of the repairs, we divide the total cost of the works by the number of flats in your block. For example, if you live in a multi-storey block with 100 flats and the cost of installing a new lift is £100,000, your contribution would be £100,000 divided by 100, which is £1,000.
What documentation will I receive?
Before we begin any works to your block you will receive two separate formal notices, and in some cases three:
Notice of intention
This notice sets out:
- The works we intend to carry out to your block
- Why we need to do them
The notice asks you to write to us with your feedback about the proposed works and invites you to nominate a contractor that you would like to be included in the tendering process.
Gateshead Council is subject to several regulations when selecting contractors. Contractors must be registered on the Gateshead Council Dynamic Purchasing System for Construction Contractors and Subcontractors ("the Construction DPS") in the relevant categories of work to be invited to tender for such works contracts.
We will review any names put forward by any leaseholder or recognised tenants' association before seeking tenders under the Construction DPS. We will then contact that person/organisation to encourage them to apply to be added to the Construction DPS in order to be invited to tender for the works.
Notice of proposal
After we have had a chance to consider your feedback, usually 30 days, we tender the works. You will receive a notice of proposal which lists the tenders we received as well as details of your estimated charge. You will again be asked for your feedback before we award the contract.
Award of contract
If we use the lowest-cost tender, we will let the contract immediately. If we don't use the lowest-cost tender, we will write to you explaining why within 21 days.
If the major works are carried out under a qualifying long-term agreement (QLTA), we will only serve you a notice of intention. You will not receive a notice of proposal.
Once the works are complete, we will calculate the actual cost of the works and issue you with an actual invoice; the same way we would with your service charge.
What is a qualifying long-term agreement?
A qualifying long-term agreement (QLTA) is an agreement with a contractor to provide goods or services, which runs more than 12 months and which results in leaseholders incurring an individual charge of at least £100 per year. QLTAs could include carrying out major works, such as fitting a door entry system, or supplying services such as buildings insurance cover. We enter into QLTAs to try and get a better deal on our major repair costs.
When we enter into a QLTA with a contractor it means that one specific contractor will provide a certain type of works for us at a pre-agreed price for the length of the contract. For example, we could have a QLTA with a contractor to fit all our door-entry systems for the next three years.
What happens if the major works are listed on my landlord's offer notice (section 125 notice)?
If we carry out works within the first five years of your lease, your charge is limited to the amount shown on your s125 notice, plus an inflation allowance. If we carry out works listed on your s125 after the first five years of your lease, you will be recharged the full apportioned sum - even if the amount itemised on your s125 notice is less.
What happens if the major works are not listed on my section 125 notice?
If we carry out works within the first five years of your lease, it is considered an un-itemised repair if it is not listed on your s125 notice. It will be included in your annual block repair estimate limit, plus inflation.
That is, if you have already been charged the maximum allowed for your block repairs, you will not be charged any extra for the major works.
Methods of payment and assistance
Tell us if you are finding it difficult to pay your bill. We are here to give you the help and support you need to manage your payments. We can help you work out which one of our payment methods is best for you and check that you are receiving all the benefits you are entitled to. We will work with you to help you get your service charge back on track. We can also put you in touch with agencies that give free specialist advice.
There will always be a way we can help, in whatever financial circumstances.
Phone: 0191 433 5353