You have the right to carry out improvements or alterations to your home, but you must always get the council's written permission first.

As part of the process, a maintenance surveyor may visit you to discuss what you have in mind, particularly for larger projects. Permission may be refused. It won't be unreasonably withheld though, and reasons for refusal will always be given.

You must also get planning and building regulations approval where necessary, and pay all the application fees yourself.

For anything that involves gas pipework or gas appliances, the work must be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer - see our page on gas safety.

Electrical work must be carried out by a qualified electrician - they will usually be a member of the Electrical Contractors' Association (ECA) or the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contractors (NICEIC)

Improvements you can make yourself include:

  • internal layout changes
  • building extensions
  • erecting garages, sheds, or greenhouses in the garden (permission for sheds or greenhouses on shared or communal land is likely to be refused)
  • installing a gas fire
  • installing central heating
  • fitting a new bathroom
  • fitting new kitchen units
  • putting in a new fireplace
  • installing extra electrical sockets
  • installing a drive or hard standing
  • erecting new fencing and gates

You may be able to get a grant from the council for installing a drive or hard standing. Ask at your local housing office.

You'll usually have to repair and maintain anything that you have had fitted yourself, at your own cost.

Right to compensation for improvements

If you've carried out improvements since 1 April 1994 with the council's permission, you may be able to get compensation at the end of your tenancy. The improvements you've made won't increase your rent, or the purchase price of your home, if you decide to buy it.

Page last updated 07/06/2016