When will the work be done?
The contractor will give you at least 3 days’ notice of the work and will let you know if you need to make any arrangements before they start.
Is the cost covered by the buildings insurance that I pay?
Your buildings insurance does not cover the cost of any work that is needed because of general wear and tear. If the work that is needed is due to storm damage for example, you could make a claim on the buildings insurance. We can give you advice about your buildings insurance if you need it.
This isn’t consultation; you are just telling me about works that you will just do anyway
Where the term ‘consultation’ is used in leasehold legislation it differs from the traditional meaning of the word.
In this case it means that you have the legal right to be informed about any work, the estimated cost and why we need to do it. This legal right to consultation does not give you the option to decide if you want the work done or not. It is the right to information only but we will consider any comments that you make on our plans.
What happens if I do not pay?
A Major work invoice is still a service charge and recovery action will be taken if you do not pay. If you are struggling to pay contact us so that we can try and get you some specialist help and advice. It is important not to ignore the situation as non-payment is taken seriously and could result in court judgements against you.
How long will I have to pay for the work?
You are given 30 days to pay. There are a number of payment options available if you cannot pay in full within this time and information on these options is sent with your invoice.
Why do I pay a service charge, if I then have to pay for this work?
Your service charge does not include the cost of maintaining the building.
When will I be issued with an invoice for major work?
Invoices are issued once work is completed. We have to wait until the scheme that your property is part of has been completed and the final account agreed. This could be several months after the work to your property has finished.
Is this notice a demand for payment even though the work has not started yet?
It is not an invoice or demand for payment. What it shows is an estimate of how much you will have to pay for the work. An invoice will be issued at a later date; however, you may wish to start thinking about how you will pay and possibly start saving some money towards the cost of the invoice once it’s issued.
Why should I have to pay for work when you have not properly maintained the property in the past?
We have always tried to properly maintain the exterior of our properties but buildings do deteriorate over time, even if they have been well maintained.
I don’t agree that the work you are going to do is needed?
We can only charge you for work when it is necessary. The work listed in the notice has been surveyed and checked by our Technical Surveyor and is needed. If you do not agree you need to write to us within 30 days and let us know why you do not think it needs to be done. This will then be rechecked by our surveyor and we will then notify you of the outcome.
Can I opt out of the work and do it myself?
No you cannot opt out of the work because if work is needed to the external structure or communal areas of your block we must carry it out which is a requirement of your lease. You are then charged for a share of the cost of us doing so.
I have received a notice saying that works are now going to be carried out and that I have already been consulted about the contract that is in place for this work but I haven’t received anything?
A notice was sent to you before we went out to tender to let you know about the contract and a second notice was sent after the tenders were returned to let you know which contractors were being considered. In some cases a third notice will have been sent to let you know who won the contract. The notices could have been sent a number of years ago because we get contractors for different types of work under long term agreements which can run for many years. This process is explained in the section above ‘How will we consult you?’
If you have just bought your property you will not have received these notices because you did not own the property when they were sent. In this case we do not have to restart the process with you and only need to include you at the next stage, which in this case is the notice of costs.
You haven’t given me enough information to make my comments
The information in the notices is thought to be enough to let you make comments about the contract.
Do I need to reply to the notices that I receive?
You only need to reply if you have any comments on the contract or the works that are going to be taking place that you want us to consider. You must do this in writing (by law) within the time given. Any comments received after this date will not be considered.
What happens if you don’t send me these notices?
If we do not send you the correct notices we cannot charge you more than £250 for work or £100 for services under the contract.
How can I take part in the process?
When you receive the first and second notices you can give us your comments in writing within 30 days. We must consider any comments we receive before moving onto the next stage of the process.
You can also come into our office and view documents about the contract, for example when the second notice is sent you can come and view the tenders that we received and the Schedule of Rates (costs).
How will the contractor(s) be selected?
The winning contractor will be selected based on their price and quality so we are satisfied that the costs are competitive and reasonable. Contractors have to provide a Schedule of Rates (costs) as part of the tendering process and these costs will be used to work out what you will be charged if any work is carried out to your property in the future.
Will local contractors be able to put a tender in?
Yes if they are capable of carrying out the contract. Our repair programmes are huge as we manage around 28,000 properties which means smaller contractors, who are entirely reputable and competitively priced, may not have the capacity to tender for the work. Tenders from local contractors will be evaluated in the same way as all other contractors.
Can I suggest/nominate a contractor?
If the first notice says that you can suggest a contractor you need to send us their details in writing within 30 days. A Registered Residents Association can also nominate a contractor if they wish.
We will then write to the contractor asking them if they would like to submit a tender for the contract. To do this they need to be on Newcastle City Council’s approved list of contractors.
You are not allowed to suggest a contractor when we have to publish the details of the contract publically, which is known as giving public notice. This lets contractors from across the European Union (EU) tender for the contract if they want to. We have to do this when the value of the contract is over a certain amount as set out in EU law which we must comply with.
How will we consult you?
The process that we have to follow and the wording of the notices that we have to send is laid out in law. There are different types of contracts that you will be consulted over and the process will differ slightly depending on this.
- Stage one – Notice of Intention to Enter into a Long Term Agreement. This is the pre-tender stage and sets out what we are going out to tender for
- Stage two – Notice of Proposal to Enter into a Long Term Agreement. This is the tender stage letting you know which contractors are being considered
- Stage three – Notice of Reasons for Entering into a Long Term Agreement. This stage is not always needed and depends on the type of contract and who it is awarded to A further notice is then sent to you once work has been identified to the building where your property is located a further notice is sent to you to show you how much you will have to pay for the works.
What is a section 20 notice?
It is a legal notice to tell you about any new contracts, works or services that you have to pay for. We must also send a copy of the notice to any registered residents association that is connected to the building your home is in or the estate it is on.
What do you consult me about?
We have to consult you when Your Homes Newcastle goes out to tender for a new contract.
We must tell you if we enter in a one off contract with a contractor for repair, maintenance or improvement work that could cost more than £250 and where the agreement will last for less than 12 months.
We must also tell you if we enter into a long term contract with a contractor for repair, maintenance or improvement work that could cost more than £250 per year or provide services that could cost more than £100 per year and will last for more than 12 months.
During the tender process we do not know if, or what, work will be carried out to your property under the contract but if in future any work is needed that will cost you more than £250 you will be sent another notice telling you what we are going to do and how much your estimated cost is before it is carried out.
The regulations are complicated and legal issues are involved. The detailed process that we have to follow is set out in Section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act (1985) (amended by section 151 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002).