Major Repairs and Cyclical Works

We are responsible for the upkeep, maintenance, repair and improvement of your building and estate as a whole, but as a Leaseholder you are responsible for paying your share of these costs through your service charge.

We carry out regular maintenance to all our estates, but every building requires major work during its life and cyclical decorations to communal areas. This can include renewing key components of the building, such as the roof, installing new facilities, such as entry phones and cyclical painting.

Where the lease allows, a sinking or reserve fund is set up, which is used for major repairs, equipment replacement and cyclical decorations to communal areas.

What are Major Repairs?

Major repairs are works we need to carry out to the building you live in, or your estate, that involve extensive or complex works. Examples of major repairs include, re-roofing, window replacement, structural repairs, and lift replacement.

What are Cyclical Works?

We carry out some works to your home on a regular basis such as external painting. We draw up a list of works that need to be carried out to your home and the estate you live on. A specification is drawn up detailing the works required and following consultation with leaseholders, this is used to tender the works with at least two contractors, but usually four or five. When tenders are returned leaseholders are consulted on the price prior to contracts being signed. During the period the contractor is working on site, regular inspections are made by Orbit surveyors to make sure the work is being completed to a high standard.

How do we keep leaseholders informed?

With the exception of emergency major works, all Planned Maintenance Programme work is known about in advance. Orbit has a long term programme of cyclical decorations/repairs and provides information to prospective purchasers about work planned in the future. This information is also provided to leaseholders when Orbit review sinking fund contributions. If you would like to know what planned maintenance works are likely to be carried out in the future, please contact the Orbit Leasehold Team. There may be an additional charge for this service.

When do we consult with you about cyclical and major repairs?

Under the current law, we will consult with you over any cyclical or major repairs that need to be completed, of which you are expected to bear the costs. The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 sets the financial limits for works which you must be consulted about. This process is referred to as Section 20 Consultation and you can find further at the bottom of this page.

Repairs or Improvements?

Some Orbit leases provide for both repairs and improvements to be charged to leaseholders, others only provide for repairs. All leases allow elements of improvement in certain circumstances (for example Lighting). Minor improvement works needed for the good and proper management of the building or estate can also be recharged to leaseholders, although this will normally only be for items needed to improve health & safety, estate security or items required by new legislation. We may also carry out and charge leaseholders for repairs including improvements where it can be justified that the work will be cost effective in the medium/long term (for example replacing a flat roof with pitched roof, or a fence with a wall).

How does Orbit charge for Major Works?

All Orbit leases define major works as payable as a service charge item, accounted for and issued as part of a service charge account six months after the end of the relevant financial year. For Orbit, the financial year runs from April until the end of March, and so the account is issued six months later by the end of September.

What if I have difficulty paying for the Major Works?

Orbit maintains separate “Sub accounts” specifically for major work charges. A sinking fund account is a type of “sub account”. Each year in September all major repairs and planned maintenance expenditure is charged against the “sub account” for the property. If there is no sinking fund set up for that property (or if the sinking fund has insufficient funds) the account will be in deficit and you will be asked to pay this.

It is recognized that major repairs charges can be very high and can cause difficulties for leaseholders who are used to clearing amounts due instantly. Orbit recognizes that everybody’s circumstances are different and payment plans will be considered on a case-by-case basis by our income team. Please contact us on 0800 678 1221 or via if you are having issues making Major Works payments.

Section 20 Consultation

When we are going to carry out major work or redecoration to your block or estate, you have a legal right to be consulted. We will send you a formal notice and details of the estimates for the work and your estimated share of the cost.

You will have 30 days under each stage of consultation to give us your comments. We will look carefully at your comments and will take them into account before making our decision on how to proceed. We have responsibility under the lease to repair and maintain the building and ultimately to decide what work needs to be done, taking into account the comments made.

Where there is a recognised residents’ association we will consult with them.

The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 states that we need to consult you on two areas of cost:

Qualifying long term agreements

This is an agreement or contract for a term of more than 12 months. These could include repairs, maintenance, cyclical work, servicing, improvement work, communal cleaning and gardening, contracts for lift or door entry/entry phone system maintenance, fire precaution equipment servicing, insurances and utilities (if tendered).  

We will consult where the contribution by any one leaseholder or shared owner exceeds £100 (including VAT) in the accounting period of one year. Where residents pay proportional payments (i.e. buildings insurance), we will consult with all residents if one or more residents are required to pay over £100.

Qualifying work

This is repair, maintenance, cyclical decoration or improvement work on a building or any other relevant premises. The inclusion of improvement in the definition of qualifying works does NOT allow a landlord to recover costs for improvements unless a liability for costs of improvements is included in the lease. When calculating the estimated cost, VAT on works must be included. We must consult if these works will cost over £250 for any one leaseholder.

For both types of consultation there are three main stages:

Stage 1. Notice of intent

We will write to you detailing the scope of the work. You will be given 30 days in which to submit any comments and nominate a contractor of your choice. Please note that any contractor nominated by a resident must meet all the conditions we set for our contractors.

Stage 2. Our proposal 

We will tender the work and following receipt of the tenders, set out our proposals to you. You will be given a period of 30 days to comment on the proposal.

Stage 3. Instructing the work  

If we instruct the work but do not select either a  nominated contractor or the lowest estimate, we will tell you why. A summary of your written views will be included together with our responses.

If you require further information about the Section 20 process or need to contact us about a specific consultation please call 0800 678 1221 and ask to speak to the Service Charge Team.