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.
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.
If you live in one of our general homes, we will approve replacing 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.
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.