Home alterations for council tenants

Getting permission, compensation and benefits, home insulation, adaptations.

You can improve and alter your home as long as you:

  1. check if you need approval from our building control team – contact environmental services (you can do this through your local customer service centre)
  2. check if you need planning permission – contact environmental services (you can do this through your local customer service centre)
  3. talk to your tenancy management officer first and get written permission from us

We generally give permission for altering and improving your home, except where, for instance, the work would result in the loss of a bedroom. It is up to you to be responsible for any repairs to any changes you make. However, you must have written approval from your housing officer or tenancy management officer before proceeding with any improvement work. 

Points to consider

If your home is in a conservation area (such as the White Hart Lane Estate) or is a listed building, it may be harder to get permission.

If you wish to install a satellite dish, check with your local housing office first to see if you will need written permission.

If you improve your home and then move out, all your changes will then belong to us.

If you want to take something that you have fitted away with you when you leave, you must make sure that you restore the property to its original condition.

You are responsible for any repairs to items you have put in.

Compensation for improvements you have made

You may be able to get money back from us when you leave a property where you have carried out improvements. The rules are that:

  • you must have received written permission from us
  • the work must have added value to the property 
  • the money you get back must not be more than the cost of the work 
  • your compensation must take depreciation into account 
  • any improvement grant you received will be deducted from the compensation

Note that we will not increase your rent as a result of any improvements you have made while you or your husband or wife is still living there.

Benefit from the statutory scheme

You may be able to get compensation from a statutory scheme if you carried out any improvements after April 1994. You can find out more about the scheme from your local customer services centre.

If you want to find out if your alteration or improvement qualifies for compensation, you can check with your local housing office. The kinds of improvements that may qualify are:

  • bath or shower 
  • bathroom/kitchen storage 
  • double-glazing 
  • external window replacement 
  • hand basins 
  • kitchen work surfaces 
  • loft insulation 
  • draught proofing of external doors/windows 
  • objects improving security (not burglar alarms) 
  • re-wiring

British Gas free home insulation offer

Are you struggling to stay warm each winter because you cannot afford to heat your home? You can now qualify for free insulation if you are a British Gas customer and over 70 years old or claiming one of either:

  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Attendance Allowance
  • War Disablement Allowance (includes Mobility Supplement or Constant Attendance Allowance)
  • Income Support
  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Benefit
  • Disablement Pension (includes Constant Attendance Allowance)
  • Child Tax Credit (maximum household income £15,592)
  • Working Tax Credit (maximum household income £15,592)

Insulating your home can save you money on your heating bills, keep the heat in longer, make you feel warmer and help reduce the impact on the environment. You should get written permission from us to have free insulation fitted and remember to tell them it is a free offer.

Find out if you are eligible by calling British Gas 'Here to Help' on 0845 605 2535 – lines are open Mondays to Fridays 8pm to 8pm, and Saturdays 8am to 6pm.

Equipment and adaptations

If you are a council tenant and you have a disability, or you’re having difficulties coping with everyday tasks within your home, you can contact us to discuss your needs and find out what support is available.

Our specialist team will conduct an assessment and then provide information to help you live independently, including recommendations for equipment or adaptations to your home such as bathing equipment, grab rails, step alterations or a stairlift. After these improvements or alterations are approved, they will be carried out at no extra cost to you.

Learn more about the equipment and adaptations available and how to apply. 

Contact us about your council property