Improving your home


All tenants have the option to carry out their own improvements to our properties. If the improvement work you intend to carry out is beyond your responsibilities as identified in your tenancy agreement you must contact us to gain written permission first. You must also gain Local Authority approval for the works you intend to undertake (if applicable) and use qualified trades persons to carry out the works to your home.

When the works are complete we will inspect the work you have undertaken to ensure that it has been completed properly and that the relevant approvals have been gained. We will also take copies of the approvals for our files.

When carrying out works that have been approved by us always keep all of your receipts and invoices. If you move out you may be eligible for compensation for the works you have carried out.

If for any reason the works you carry out are not up to a good standard, incomplete or left in a dangerous condition you will be asked to correct the work at your own expense within a defined timescale. If you can’t carry out the required works we will do the work for you and you will be recharged.

We are committed to keeping all of our homes in excellent condition, both now and in the future. We do this by;

  • Planning long term programmes to repair and modernise homes
  • Repairing empty homes to a high standard ready for new tenants
  • Providing a fast and effective day to day repairs service for our customers, backed up with help and advice from our team of Technical Services Advisors and Maintenance Inspectors.

Sometimes our customers want to make their own improvements or alterations to our properties. This information advises on the process you should follow before you start.

What is an improvement or alteration?

An improvement or alteration is anything you do to change the structure or fixtures and fittings of the property. This includes replacing kitchens and bathrooms, removing internal walls, adding extensions or conservatories and any other major works. A list of improvements can be found further down the page.

Permission for improvements and alterations

You have the right to carry out improvements to your home once you have gained our written permission. We will not normally refuse permission but we will expect you to show that the work will be carried out safely and to a good standard.

If you want to build an extension or remove interior walls we will require a copy of the plans, confirmation that you have planning permission from the local council and, if necessary, Building Regulations approval.

Our Maintenance Inspectors can visit you to provide you with advice about the improvements or alterations you want to make. Please call our Technical Services Advisors on 0300 500 6262 or email to arrange an appointment.

Will making improvements affect my payments?

Any improvements you make will not affect the rent that you pay to us. You may also be entitled to compensation for the improvements you have made if you move out of the property. For more information on this please read further down the page.

Repairs to the improvements

Ongoing repairs to the improvements you have made to your home will be your sole responsibility. We will confirm this to you in writing when we provide approval for the works to be carried out.

Moving out

When you move out we will expect you to either leave any improvements you have made in good order or return your home to the way it was before.

Compensation for improvements

When you move out you may be able to claim compensation for the cost of certain improvements you have made to your home. The types of improvements you can claim compensation for are;

  • New kitchens
  • New bathrooms
  • New central heating systems

We will only pay compensation to you if at the time of the work being carried out you supplied us with;

  • Three quotations from competent people or contractors
  • Have met all our terms and conditions stated in our written permission letter agreeing to the work
  • Kept hold of all invoices and receipts

Compensation will not be paid if you did not obtain our written permission to carry out the improvements or if you cannot provide us with proper receipts that show the original cost of the work.

You must claim compensation within 28 days of your tenancy ending. You cannot claim if your tenancy ended because you purchased your home or if we are ending your tenancy by taking you to court.

How much compensation will I receive?

We use a formula, which takes into account the amount you paid for the improvements and how long ago they were carried out, to work out how much compensation to award you. The formula we use is as follows;

Cost of improvement ÷ expected useful life x no. of years life left

So if you installed a new bath for £300, it’s expected useful life would be 12 years and you moved out 4 years after the installation we would use the following calculation;

£300 ÷ 12 x 8 = £200

We will not pay compensation that comes to less than £50 and the amount you can receive is capped at £3000.

Useful life

The useful life of an improvement is the number of years we would expect it to last for before needing to be replaced or have maintenance work carried out on it. Below shows you the expected usual life of some improvements:

Improvement Expected useful life
Thermostatic radiator valves 7 years
Draft proofing outside doors 8 years

Kitchen sinks

Storage cupboards in bathrooms or kitchens Work surfaces for preparing food

Improvements to security (excluding burglar alarms) Insulating pipes, water tanks or hot water cylinders
10 years
Central heating or hot water systems Baths, showers, hand basins or toilets 12 years
Rewiring or providing power and lighting to electrical fittings (including mains operated smoke detectors) 15 years

Loft and cavity wall insulation

Double glazing, secondary glazing or replacing windows

Extensions, porches, conservatories or carports
30 years