Major repairs and improvements for leaseholders
We are responsible for the upkeep, maintenance, repair and improvement of your building, where this is a flat or maisonette and estate as a whole. As a leaseholder you are responsible for paying your share of these costs through your service charges.
We carry out regular maintenance to all our communities , but every building will require major work during its life. This can include replacing the roof or updating windows, or installing new facilities, such as entry phones. We will also carry out regular work to keep your home looking well maintained, like painting.
Where the lease allows, a sinking fund is set up to help cover the cost of major improvement works or renewals like equipment replacement and periodic decorations to communal areas.
Should you wish to carry out improvements to the property yourself, you may require our consent. For some types of work, such as new windows in a flat, you will still have to contribute to costs when we replace the windows in the block, even if you have changed your own.
You can report a minor repair needed to a communal area at any time.
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 our surveyors to make sure the work is being completed to a high standard.
How we will keep you 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 us. There may be an additional charge for this service. The administration charges leaflet (pdf, 353KB) contains more information.
How we will consult you about cyclical works 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. You can find out more on the Section 20 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 are the costs for cyclical works and major repairs charged to me?
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 meeting the charges?
We maintain 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.
We recognise that major repairs charges can be very high and can cause difficulties for leaseholders. Payment plans will be considered on a case-by-case basis - please contact us if you are facing difficulties meeting the account costs.
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