Councils have the power to pay Missing Shares where a minority of owners do not pay their share of common repairs.

When can the council pay Missing Shares?

Your council can use Missing Shares when:

  • one or more owners are unwilling or unable to pay
  • the owner cannot be found after reasonable enquiries
  • it is unreasonable to ask an owner to pay

If you think you might need this kind of help, do check with your council first of all as not all will use this power. You must make your application before work starts (try their Private Sector Housing team or Environmental Health Services).

The council can only make these payments if:

  • owners have followed all the proper procedures in setting up repairs (but you should be doing this anyway)
  • a majority of owners have agreed to repairs
  • the repair work is required
  • each owner is being asked to pay their correct share of costs
  • work has not yet started

Your council may give you a ‘letter of comfort’ saying that they will pay missing shares if required.

Many councils will only pay into a joint maintenance account.

Procedure
  1. Check that your council has a policy of using Missing Shares powers.
  2. Follow all proper procedures to get agreement and arrange the repairs.
  3. Write to owners saying they must pay their share into the maintenance account (some call this a Section 50 Notice).
  4. If some owners are unwilling or unable to pay, make a formal application to the council for Missing Shares.
  5. Once you have Missing Shares approval, get the works carried out.
  6. Get majority agreement of owners to pay the final bill.
  7. Send the bill to owners and wait for the final date to make payment.
  8. If no payment is received, go back to the council and ask them to use the Missing Shares power they have previously agreed to.
  9. The council will generally pay the appropriate amount into your maintenance account.
  10. The council will then recover the costs from the non-paying owner, probably using a repayment order.

Expect some minor differences in procedure between different councils.

What happens if the council can’t or won’t use Missing Shares?

See Enforcing repairs for other means of getting owners to pay for required repairs.

Legal reference

1200 800 Under One Roof

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