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Before you make any changes

Before you carry out improvements or alterations to your home you must first complete an application form setting out details of the work you propose.

There are a number things to think about before applying to make improvements to your council home.

Recovering the money you spend on changes

When your tenancy ends you may be able to claim back the money you spend on improving your council home. You should check if what you plan on changing is covered under our compensation rules.

Planning consent

Certain types of work require planning approval or Building Regulation approval (or both) before they are started. It is your responsibility to get the necessary approval, draw up any necessary plans and pay any appropriate fees. You may wish to contact the planning department for advice and information about this before deciding whether to proceed.

Any council consent may be subject to you obtaining planning or Building Regulation approval.  Find out what alterations you might need planning permission for.


Many homes built between the 1950s and early 1980s are likely to have asbestos containing materials within them.  Before you start to plan any works to your home and to find out more about asbestos and where it may be in your home please find out more about Asbestos and how to protect yourself from the risks. If you have any concerns about asbestos within your home you should complete our online form.

Types of improvements:

In general, sheds and greenhouses should not exceed 75 square feet (7m2) in floor area and should be less than 6’6” (2m) in height. Sheds should be placed behind a line that could be drawn across the front of the property and at least 1’8” (0.5m) away from the boundary of the external wall.

Most tenants will wish to erect ‘off the shelf’ prefabricated sheds of the type available in places such as garden centres and DIY stores. If you wish to build a shed or fence using your own materials they should be suitable for the purpose.

In considering your application, we will think about the finished appearance. The use of old doors, galvanised sheeting, for example, should be avoided unless they are properly finished and reasonable in appearance.

We will only give permission to erect a garage if a suitable pavement cross-over is available or if the Highways Authority has agreed your application to build a pavement cross-over.

Garages should be built behind a line that could be drawn across the front of the property and at least one metre (3’3”) away from the boundary. No windows will be permitted within two metres (6’6”) of any boundary or building.

If we approve a garage which is less than two metres (6’6”) from any boundary or building, it must be made of fireproof materials and comply with Building Regulations.

We will not allow any hardstandings or carports until an approved access and footpath crossing has been built with our permission and to the satisfaction of the Highways Authority.

In the case of hardstandings, double gates must be provided where appropriate and these gates must have an open position within the property boundary and be maintained by the tenant. The hardstanding must be used for parking only; vehicle repair work will not be permitted. Vehicles must be in a reasonable condition of repair.

For carports to comply with building regulations:

  • The relevant side wall of the house must have less than five square metres of openings for such things as doors and windows    
  • The carport must not exceed 290 square feet (27 square metres) in floor area
  • The carport must not be attached to a garage
  • The roof covering must be of materials which have an external fire rating, for example, reinforced corrugated plastic or fibre glass sheeting

No caravan may be parked until an approved access, hardstanding and footpath crossing have been constructed.

  • All caravans must be of an approved type and standard with the length (excluding tow bar) not exceeding 14’9” (4.5 metres)
  • Vehicles must have number plates and full road lights, be kept clean and tidy and in a satisfactory state of repair
  • The towing vehicle must be owned by the tenant and have a tow bar fitted
  • Caravans must not be in use for any purpose while parked
  • No nuisance or inconvenience should be caused to neighbours
  • You must state if you want permission for permanent parking

We will normally give permission for one satellite dish or antenna on a house, provided that:

  • It is less than 35 1/2” (90cm) when measured in any direction

  • All parts of it are lower than the highest part of the roof

A second dish will require planning permission.

We will generally refuse requests for provision of a satellite dish in a block of flats. We have negotiated arrangements for the installation of communal satellite reception facilities in certain flat blocks and, where available, tenants may subscribe to the service. Further details are available from the housing office.

The radio must not be used if it causes interference, nuisance or annoyance to neighbours.

The aerial must be erected by a skilled person. You must accept full responsibility for any work which may be needed to the structure for the attachment of the aerial.

You must take appropriate insurance cover.