Thats great thank you. The Daejan decision has curbed the application of the s20 protection for tenants which was previously to some extent an absolute right of defence against a landlord who has failed to conform to procedure. However the decision has not given rise to a discretion for the landlord to ignore his s20 obligations. Rather the Supreme Court sought to apply some relief for a landlord who has mistakingly not complied with the requirements to consult but has otherwise acted in good faith carrying out repairs which were reasonably required and proportionate and at a cost which was fair and that the leasholders would otherwise reasonably have had to have carried out themselves were they responsible for maintenance in the interests of good uilding maintenance.
It is worth noting that in the case the court awarded the landlord less than 20% of the amount he was seeking and ordered him to pay costs so by one measure, this can hardly be classed as a success for the landlord. So clearly dispensing with consultation is far from a get out of jail free card for the landlord.
In terms of steps forward whilst it is no longer an option simply to refuse to pay more than the statutory obligation amount because landlord did not comply with consultation, you need not necessarily pay what is demanded. You can
a) Question why the works were necessary for complying with the landlord maintenance obligations under the lease. Ask the landlord to provide evidence of why the works were necessary and why the existing damp proofing was not satisfactory. If it was not satisfactory, could it have been patched or repaired rather than replaced if thats what happened.
b) Notwithstanding the above, was a cheaper more cost effective method available? If not did the landlord obtain other quotes? Did he use the cheapest quote? If not why? Does the landlord have any connection to the contractor used?
c) Though not directly an issue out of the above case, nonetheless relevant and important, notwithstanding the above, how has the landlord apportioned the amount demanded and relying on what terms in the lease. He can only apportion bills as the lease provides for. He cannot invent his own way of calculating apportionments if it is not authorised in the Lease without your agreement.
The landlord must produce evidence to reasonably satisfy you on all the above points if he is going to successfully seek payment of the amount demanded. If you can reasonably show that the landlord has not satisified any of the above, then you can seek to reduce or even avoid (if the work cannot be shown to have been reasonably necessary) payment. If you cannot reach agreement with the landlord, either you or the landlord can make an aplication to a tribunal for a determination as to the liability to pay the charge demanded.
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