If you want to make any alterations to your home, you may need our permission first. This page gives you advice on what to do together with guidance about specific conditions and requirements for different types of alteration.
Firstly, it's important to know that we do not allow any of the following alterations:
- removing internal walls
- building conservatories or a 'lean-to'
- loft conversions
- installing log burners
- chimney breast removal
- structural alterations
- adding doors and windows
- installing patio, French or bi-fold doors
- installation of cat flaps.
In the terms and conditions of your tenancy it states that you have the right to make improvements to your home as long as you have written permission from us. You have to get this before you start your alterations. You must also bear in mind that you might need to get planning permission and building regulation approval, which will come from your local authority.
We may want to inspect any alterations you make, and we’ll let you know if this is the case. We may also need you to carry out further work if something has not been done in line with the permission we have given you. If you decide to leave your home, we may ask you to return the property to the original condition, or we may offer you compensation for the alterations you’ve done in line with our compensation policy.
If you don’t ask for our permission, carry out alterations we’ve said no to, or make alterations that haven’t been carried out properly, we can take action against you. This might mean asking you to return the property to its original condition, carry out additional work, or we might complete the work ourselves and charge you for it. In extreme cases, we may be forced to take legal action against you and end your tenancy with us.
Disclaimer - whatever the type of alteration, we reserve the right to remove any defective workmanship and charge your for any work that is needed to put things right.
For adaptations such as grab rails, key safes and other changes to support independence or living with special needs, please click here.
If you want to make any changes to your kitchen, you must submit a plan to us first.
One of our asset surveyors will review your plan and if it meets the required standards we will give you the go-ahead.
If not, we will let you know of any changes to the plan you could make to get our approval.
You're welcome to change your cooker, as long as the work is completed by a qualified person. If your home doesn't have a gas supply this will need to be installed by a registered Gas Safe engineer. Once the work has been done you'll need to submit the relevant certificates.
If you live in one of our general homes, you can replace an existing shower with a bath, if you meet the following conditions:
- You pay the installation costs, including for removal of waste to an approved tip.
- You pay for repairing any damage to floors, walls, ceilings, skirting boards etc. to a high standard.
- The work must follow building regulations as well as any other regulations from your local water authority.
- Any other associated maintenance issues are your responsibility.
If you live in one of our sheltered homes (for elderly and disabled people), please discuss your plans with us first.
We only allow customers to replace a bath in their home with a shower if it is necessary for medical reasons.
If you are in this situation you should contact the social services team at your local council. They will carry out an assessment and advise of your needs.
Please provide us with supporting information from a medical professional in the enquiry form below.
You can replace your existing bath if you meet the following criteria:
- You pay the full costs of installing the new bath, including for the removal of waste to an approved tip.
- You must pay for repairing any damage to floors, walls, ceilings, skirting boards etc. to a high standard.
- The work must follow building regulations and any other regulations from your water authority.
- Any other associated maintenance issues are your responsibility.
We will normally give you permission to build a bin store, as long as it can easily be removed at the end of your tenancy and does not require foundations.
Putting up a shed on your own garden is normally ok, as long as it is a temporary structure which can easily be removed at the end of your tenancy and meets the requirements below.
You must not:
- put sheds up on communal spaces
- put up sheds in front of your home
- put up a brick or block shed
If you are planning on putting up a shed, you should follow these guidelines:
- The garden shed should be solid, well-built and be well-presented.
- If you want to build your own shed (rather than assemble a 'kit') you must use traditional garden shed building materials and construction styles. We would not approve a shed made from, for example, pallets or second hand roofing sheets.
- The garden shed should be more than 2 metres away from all adjoining buildings, as long as there are no windows on the adjacent wall. If there is a window on the adjacent wall, the shed should be at least 3.5 metres away. Don't forget to leave space to maintain fences and hedges around the shed!
- Any garden shed bigger than 10 cubic metres must be more than 5 metres away from the house.
- A building with a ridged roof should be less than 4 metres high, and 3 metres high if it has any other type of roof.
- A building next to a boundary should be less than 2.5 metres high.
- The building structure should not cover more than half of the garden.
- If you're planning on installing an electrical supply to the shed, this work must be carried out by an electrician registered to NICEIC or a similar organisation and to the 18th edition BS7671:2018 requirements for electrical installations of the NICEIC regulations. You must keep a copy of all electrical certificates for future reference.
Don't forget insurance!
You will need to get adequate insurance against damage caused by things such as wind damage, fire, explosion, flooding, burst or leaking pipes. You may already be covered by your existing insurance, so check the policy to be sure.
We don't usually have a problem with customers installing a driveway at their property, as long as it is within your garden (ie not a communal space) and it meets the following criteria:
- Permission will be needed from highways or other relevant authorities for dropped kerbs and over a footpath.
- You must get planning permission from your local authority for the type of hard-standing to be used. You must also re-apply for this permission if you change the surface in the future.
- The gradient of the drive should not be steeper than 1 in 10.
- You should be careful not to damage any underground services, inspection chambers and covers, house foundations, retaining walls, rainwater, soil and vent pipes. If the work does cause damage to this kind of system or structure, you are responsible for repairs (this includes existing pedestrian path if it is utilised by vehicles). All future maintenance of the drive will be your responsibility.
- There must be at least 1 metre of clear paved access when the vehicle is parked on the drive, to provide access for refuse collection.
- The drive should be more than 4.6 metres from a window used for ventilation purposes to a habitable room.
- Work should be completed within 28 days of starting, to avoid works being unfinished and unsightly.
Other things to note:
If you cause damage to any underground service, you'll be liable for the repair. Therefore, we'd advice customers to contact the service providers before any work commences to ensure that none of their equipment will be damaged. Here are some examples of services you should check with:
- The local water authority
- The local electricity network provider - your account will advise who to contact
- The local gas network provider - your account will advise who to contact
- British Telecom
- Your local authority regarding sewers
If you have your own garden (ie not shared with other households) it is fine for you to put down a patio or decking. There are some things you must consider though:
- All waste must be removed appropriately.
- The finished level of the patio must be 150mm below the property's damp proof course. If you're installing decking, there must be a 50mm gap between the decking and the building (to avoid causing damp problems).
- The foundation and surface must be built carefully to avoid damaging any underground services. If you do cause damage to these structures or services, it is your responsibility to carry out repairs.
- If you're installing decking, you'll need planning consent if it's going to be higher than 30cm above the ground. Planning regulations also say that decking must not cover more than half of the garden area.
- Any further maintenance of the patio or decking is your responsibility.
Putting up fencing is usually fine if you have your own garden (not a shared or communal area). If you are planning to install fencing, you should follow these guidelines:
- You have to pay for the work - which must include appropriate removal of the waste.
- Fences at the back of the house should be less than 1.8m from the highest ground level.
- Fences at the front of the house must not be taller than 1.2m and follow highway regulations.
- The fence should be made from appropriate material and look tidy and professional.
- You should keep the fence in good condition and it must not invade nearby properties.
- You are responsible for all future maintenance.
Newly built fences cannot be altered within the warranty period. If your house is less than 15 years old, please check with us for more information.
Areas with an open plan design do not have permitted development rights and so cannot be fenced in.
Only certain types of doors can be painted. To help us, help you, please upload a picture of your door to the enquiry form below.
Once you've submitted your photo, one of our surveyors will review it and be in touch.
You can install a scooter bin as long as it is not in an internal space or a communal area/communal garden.
It must be made of traditional building materials (not constructed out of pallets or roofing sheets, for example) and should be more than 2 metres from any buildings. If there are windows on the wall nearest the scooter bin, it has to be more than 3.5 metres away.
If it's bigger than 10 cubic metres it must be 5 metres away from the house.
A scooter bin with a ridged rood needs to be less than 4 metres high. If it has any other type of roof, it must be less than 3 metres high. If your bin will be next to a boundary with another property, it should be less than 2.5 metres high.
The scooter bin must not cover more than half of your garden, and any electrics installed to the scooter bin must be done by a qualified electrician registered with NICEIC or a similar organisation. The installation must meet the 18th edition BS7961:2018 requirements of the NICEIC regulations, and you'll have to provide us with the certificates to evidence that this is the case.
We'd recommend you check with your home insurance policy to make sure it covers things like wind damage, fire, explosion, etc. as you will be responsible for your scooter bin.
If the tree is within the boundary of your property, and not protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) you may cut it down. Please check this with your local authority before cutting it down.
You may only cut back trees that overhang onto your property from a neighbour's home up to the boundary.
You can install an outside tap as long as you meet the following criteria:
- Understanding that the cost of the installation and any maintenance of the tap is your responsibility.
- The work follows any regulations set out by your water authority - usually meaning an isolating valve and double check (none return) valve should be fitted in the building, and the tap itself has a hose union bib tap attached to the main building.
- You accept that any damage caused by the weather is your responsibility.
- You accept that any damage to walls, plastering, cupboards, pipes, etc. is to be fixed at your expense.
Please inform us once you have installed your outside tap.
You may install CCTV as long as the camera positioning does not directly overlook other properties and is only used to monitor the intended spaces. You must restrict your cameras where possible so that areas that aren't intended to be viewed are not seen.
You can install a water meter to your home. The cost of the installation is your responsibility and the work must be completed by your water authority.
To install a satellite dish you must follow this guidance:
- The dish must not exceed 600mm in diameter.
- The dish must be below the line of the roof and not fixed on a roof slope, or a wall fronting a highway.
- The dish must not be attached to a chimney stack.
- There must not be an existing satellite dish attached to the dwelling. If you live in a block of flats, there cannot be more than two dishes per block.
- If the dish needs to be removed for maintenance purposes, the entire cost will be your responsibility.
- No part of the final position of the dish should encroach onto adjoining properties.
- If the position of the dish is over any paths, it needs to be at least 2.1m from ground level.
- In some areas you may need planning permission - you should check with your local authority before starting any work to see if this is the case.
- If you live in a listed building you might need consent to install a satellite dish.
If you meet all of the above terms, you may install a satellite dish.
Putting down laminate flooring is fine.
Remember though, that if we need access to any services below (such as wiring or pipes) for repairs, you'll need to lift the floor before we arrive. You'll then have to put the floor back, after the repair is complete.
Sometimes, with leasehold properties, there are restrictions on putting down wooden or laminate flooring. If you have a leasehold property, you need to check the conditions of your lease.
You should also note that any costs incurred are your responsibility.
If you live in a flat, please remember to consider your neighbours as flooring installation can be very noisy for people living below.
You may install a smart meter in your home if you wish to.