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Improvements to council homes

What council housing improvements are you doing at the moment?

Currently we are renewing bathrooms, kitchens, external and communal doors, windows and roofs, and carrying out external redecoration.

Generally works are identified from our stock condition survey which is carried out every 5 years by building surveyors. They look at the age and condition of all the major elements of your home such as the roof, windows and rate them in a range from very poor to excellent. Generally those elements that are rated as poor or very poor are included in our maintenance programme first.

Bathroom renewals

This is a programme where 400-500 bathrooms are renewed each year by our approved contractors. These bathrooms will have been highlighted for renewal from the stock condition survey, which rated the bathroom condition in a range from very poor to excellent, or are over 30 years old.

If your address is on the programme, your home will be surveyed. We will normally fit the new bath, toilet and washbasin in the same places as the old ones, a wet wall splash back will be used in place of wall tiles.

Kitchen renewals

This is a programme where 500-700 kitchens are renewed each year, by our approved contractors. These kitchens have been highlighted for renewal from the stock condition survey. If your address is on the programme, your home will be surveyed and a designer will help you with the new layout of your kitchen. They will take into account what electrical/gas appliances you have and make best use of the space available.

You will also be able to choose from a range of kitchen units and worktops, a wet wall splash back will be used in place of wall tiles. There may be occasion where we will be forced to knock through a pantry wall. This will only be done when we are unable to meet the decent homes standard by keeping your existing kitchen. This will be discussed with you when the property is surveyed.

The department for communities and local government has more information on the decent homes standard.

Department for Communities and Local Government (external website)

For kitchen and bathroom renewals you will be given the option of either the room being painted for you by our in-house team or be given a decoration allowance to cover painting materials if you would like to decorate yourselves.

The following pdf document provides details of the decoration allowance.

Decoration Allowance Information for Council Tenants (pdf 80kb opens in new window)

External and communal door renewals

This is a programme where over 1000 doors to individual homes and 100 communal doors are renewed each year, by our approved contractors. These doors have been highlighted for renewal from the stock condition survey but may include all the timber doors down the street. If your property is on the programme, your home will be surveyed and at this point you’ll be given a choice of styles and colours.

We will see whether an asbestos test is required. Your door will normally be fitted within 5 weeks of this survey date. The work should not damage your decoration therefore we do not give a decoration allowance, the contractor may fit some plastic beading around the frames to ensure a good finish.

Window renewals

We have now replaced the majority of wooden and metal windows, and are focusing on replacing poor condition PVCu frames. We are replacing approximately 3000 windows a year, with new thermally efficient glazed windows that have better locks and ventilation. Areas for replacement are identified from our stock condition survey but the work is carried out on a street-by-street basis.

Roof renewals

We are re-roofing approximately 300 homes per year, including replacing the soffits and fascias and improving insulation where required.

You will usually be contacted several weeks before works are due to start if your home is to be included in an improvement programme.

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How do I find out if I am getting any improvements done to my council home?

We will contact you if your home is due to be included in an improvement programme, this will usually be done several weeks before works are due to start.

If you have not been informed that you will be getting improvements done you should report repairs using the online repairs reporter (opens in new window).

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Can I do my own improvements to my council home?

If you are a secure council tenant you have the right to improve your home, but for some improvements and alterations it is a condition of your tenancy that you obtain written permission from us before you start work. We will not refuse permission unless we have a good reason. If we refuse permission we will inform you of the reasons why, and if you think this is unreasonable you can challenge the decision by appealing to the housing appeals sub-committee or by taking us to the county court. The courts service website provides information on county courts.

The Courts Service (external website)

As a council tenant do not do anything which is likely to damage the structure of the building or cause damage to shared services, such as plumbing, water supply pipes, electricity, or gas supplies, or sewerage.

You may also need to obtain planning permission and building regulations consent before starting work. We do not need to know about minor work such as internal decorating, but we do need to know about any alterations which affect walls, windows, doorframes, plumbing, heating, gas and electrical services.

If you are not sure if you need permission to carry out work to your council home you should apply for permission, using the form below, and we will let you know.

Council tenant request for permission to carry out works form (pdf 98kb opens in new window)

The kind of things that you will need permission for are:

  • any addition or change to the structure or services in your home, including fixtures and fittings such as heating, plumbing and kitchen units;
  • aerials and satellite dishes;
  • external decoration;
  • installation of new windows/doors;
  • loft conversion;
  • erection of shed/greenhouse;
  • installation of patio or driveway/hardstanding.

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