If you want to alter, adapt or improve your home at your own expense you must obtain written permission from the Housing department.

Any work that affects the structure of the building or involves removal or replacement of fixtures and fittings requires permission - for instance fitting of electrical sockets, changing kitchen units, fitting a shower, changing doors or windows or any similar work. This also applies to external work to your home, and any gardens or boundary walls or fences - for instance taking down or erecting new fencing or sheds, creating hard standings or patios or any similar external building work.

Getting permission

When applying for permission you should normally put your request in writing using our online form:

Contact us about your council house

If you need assistance in making your request or if you want to discuss the proposed work and whether it needs permission, contact the property maintenance officer for your area on (01926) 456129.

Depending on the type of work you are requesting permission to undertake, a property maintenance officer may need to visit you to discuss the proposals. Permission will not be unreasonably refused but conditions may be set for the work. The most common of these are that work has to be undertaken by a reputable builder or registered electrician or gas fitter. Another common condition is that you must either leave the work unaltered when your tenancy ends or restore the property back to its original condition.

Another standard condition is that the work will be inspected when it is complete. You will normally be expected to contact a named officer to arrange an inspection visit within a specified timescale after the work has been finished.

Right to compensation for tenant improvements

In certain circumstances you may be entitled to compensation for work that you have done to improve a property if this is left in situ when you leave - for example, a fitted kitchen. There is a statutory formula used to calculate the amount of any such compensation which your Housing Officer can advise you on. To ensure you can claim at a later date you must be able to demonstrate you obtained consent for the work and followed all the conditions, if any.

Unapproved adaptations

Where an alteration or adaptation has been undertaken without permission being obtained the council may be able to provide retrospective permission. However, this is not an automatic right and if permission is not given retrospectively you will be required to either pay for the property to be restored to its original condition or pay the council's costs for  completing the work. If you are seeking a transfer to another property your transfer will be delayed until all issues around unapproved alterations have been resolved including the payment of the council's costs.

It is therefore extremely important that you always seek permission or advice as to whether you will require permission for all work you are planning to undertake to your home. 

Building regulations and planning consent

Some larger adaptations may require either Building regulations approval or Planning permission. If this is the case it will be made clear in the conditions attached to the approval.