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The Landlord & Tenant Act 1985

As a leaseholder, you have specific rights and responsibilities that are governed by this important piece of legislation. Understanding the various sections of the Act can be daunting but it is crucial to know what protections and obligations it provides to you.  On this page we aim to simplify and break down the most useful sections of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 for leaseholders.  We'll provide you with clear and concise information to help you navigate your rights and responsibilities as a leaseholder. 

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Section 21

Section 20

Section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 sets out the requirements that a landlord must follow when seeking to recover the costs of major works or services (those costing  more than £250 per leaseholder) through a service charge from tenants of residential leasehold property. The steps involved in Section 20 are as follows:


1. Notice of Intention: The landlord must serve a Notice of Intention on the tenants, which outlines the proposed works or services, and invites them to make observations in relation to the works. The notice must also provide a summary of the tenants' rights and obligations, including the right to nominate a contractor.

2. Consultation: The landlord must consult with the tenants in relation to the proposed works or services. This may involve seeking their views on the scope of the works, the choice of contractor, and the proposed costs.

3. Notification of Award: Once the landlord has chosen a contractor, they must notify the tenants of the award of the contract, including the name and address of the contractor, and the proposed start and end dates for the works.


4. Summary of Expenditure: Once the works or services have been completed, the landlord must provide the tenants with a summary of the actual costs incurred. This should include a breakdown of the costs and an explanation of any variations from the original estimates.

5. Right to Challenge: The tenants have the right to challenge the reasonableness of the costs charged through the service charge. They may do this by applying to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber), which has the power to determine whether the costs are reasonable and whether the landlord has followed the requirements of Section 20.



Overall, the aim of Section 20 is to ensure that tenants are properly consulted and have the opportunity to challenge the costs charged for major works through the service charge, in order to prevent them from being unfairly burdened with excessive costs.

As a leaseholder, you have the right to access the  management accounts of your block . In order to do so, you must serve a Section 21 notice to your managing agent.


To serve a Section 21 notice you need to follow these steps:


  • Write a letter to your managing agent requesting access to the financial accounts. Make sure to include your name, address, and the address of the property you own.

  • Include a copy of the Section 21 notice with your letter. You can find a template for this on the government website.

  • Send the letter and the Section 21 notice to your managing agent by recorded delivery requesting a summary of the service charge costs.

  • Your managing agent must provide the summary within one month of your request (or within six months of the end of the accounting period, whichever is the later).

Section 22

Under Section 22 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, a leaseholder has the right to request an inspection of their landlord's accounts, receipts, and other documents relating to the service charges they have paid. The purpose of this is to ensure that the leaseholder can verify that the service charges are reasonable and that the landlord has properly managed the property.

  • To exercise this right, a leaseholder must make a written request to their landlord, which should include details of the documents they wish to inspect and the reason for the request.

  • The landlord must then allow the leaseholder access to the requested documents within one month of the request being made.

  • If the landlord fails to comply with the request within this timeframe, the leaseholder may apply to the county court for an order requiring the landlord to allow inspection of the documents. The leaseholder may also be entitled to recover any reasonable costs incurred in making the application.

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