If you would like to alter or make improvements to your home, you need to get our permission first.
We recognise that you may like to make alterations and improvements to your home and we usually grant permission as long as your request meets our requirements.
How to apply
Your application will need to detail what alterations or improvements you would like to make. We may need to contact you after your application to request sketches, plans and other specifications where appropriate.
For any gas or electrical works, you will need to provide your contractor's registration details as applications cannot be considered without this information.
What we class as improvements and alterations
An alteration is classed as:
- replacing a fixture or fitting with one of a similar standard
- removing an existing fixture or fitting
- removing or replacing any of the existing fabric of the building, its grounds or boundaries.
An improvement is classed as:
- replacing a fixture or fitting with one that, in our opinion, is of a higher standard
- installing a new feature within the property where there wasn't one before - a new shower for example
- extending the property in some way, such as adding a conservatory or porch for example.
Any improvements and alterations which fall outside of our usual repairs and planned improvement programmes will need to be paid for by you. We will not contribute towards the cost of any improvement or alteration.
Before you start work
Please remember that consent from us is not the same as consent under Building Control Regulations or the Town and Country Planning Act. You must have separate permissions for these if they apply. You must also comply with the regulations of your electricity, gas and water suppliers.
For some types of alterations permission is only given in principle until we have inspected the completed alterations and sign these off. Only then will full permission be granted.
Consent is valid for 3 months from the date given. If you wish to do work later you must make a fresh application.
You must check the asbestos log for your home to ensure that no potentially asbestos-containing materials will be disturbed by your proposed alterations. If you do not have the asbestos log for your home, please contact us.
For certain works you must obtain Planning and/or Building Regulations approval. You must do this yourself and we will only be able to consider your alterations request once you have this approval. Party Wall Notice may also be required for some types of work.
We will not help you with any of the expenses of doing the work. You will be responsible for the repairs and maintenance of the alteration unless we accept this responsibility under the terms of the Tenancy Agreement.
Carrying out the work
You will be responsible for the works carried out so you will need to ensure that competent people carry out this work. For certain works you will need to use suitably registered trades people e.g. for gas and electrics. You will be responsible for putting right any damages caused as a result of these works.
We may require on-site inspections whilst the work is underway for larger and more complex alterations.
What happens after you make an application
Our Property Services team will review your request within 28 working days and will contact you within this time frame if we require further information from you or need to visit you at your home. We may also need to make enquiries with other council departments which could cause a delay in providing our final decision.
You will be advised if your application has been accepted or refused in writing. If we have refused your request, the reasons for this decision will be detailed in our decision letter.
It is important that you do not undertake any alteration work to your home until you have our written consent.
Consent to carry out an alteration is valid for 3 months. If you wish to carry out an alteration after the consent period, you will need to make a new application.
Tenants who do not apply for permission
If you have not applied for permission before carrying out alteration works you will be required to do so retrospectively. You may also be required to:
- re-instate the property to its original condition
- carry out further works to bring it up to a required standard
- pay a recharge for the council to carry out repair work.
Alterations with health and safety issues
If we are made aware of an alteration where there is a major health and safety issue, we will arrange all necessary works to make safe. The cost of the work and any associated costs will be recharged back to you.
If the work carried out is not of a reasonable standard and we have to reinstate or make good any works carried out after you leave the property, you will be recharged for this work.
What happens if you move
Permanent fixtures like baths and toilets become our property and must be left if you move. You may be able to get compensation from us for improvements that you have made when you leave but not all alterations and improvements qualify for this.
We may give permission for you to carry out works such as window or door replacements; however this does not remove your responsibility under the terms of your lease to contribute towards block charges should we undertake a programme of improvements to your block.
Refusal of Alterations Requests
We will not grant permission if:
- the proposal will breach planning or building regulation approval
- the proposed works are considered to be detrimental to the structure and / or long term maintenance of the property.
- the proposed works may have a detrimental effect on health and safety including fire risks
- the proposed works are considered to be potentially detrimental to the future letting / use of the property
- the proposed works will negatively affect neighbouring properties / residents and are not in keeping with their surrounding environment.
If we refuse to give you our permission to carry out an alteration you may submit a revised proposal at any time. If you are in rent arrears or there are on-going court proceedings in relation to your tenancy, your request may be placed on hold until the matter is resolved.
Alterations the council will not give permission for
We do not permit the following alterations:
- open fires
- wood burners
- gas fires
- installation of down lights into ceilings
- structural works involving load bearing walls
- extensions and brick based conservatories
- permissions which change the number of bedrooms in a property
- removal of stair banisters
- laminate flooring.