Most new tenants sign a Starter Tenancy agreement and if this applies to you, then you are not able to improve, exchange or purchase your home during the first twelve months.
Some tenancies are not starter tenancies, for example if you have moved from a Willow Park or Parkway Green tenancy, you will probably have signed an Assured Tenancy Agreement. In these circumstances you may improve your home as long as you obtain written permission from the Trust before you begin work.
If you want to make improvements to your home, such as fitting a new wardrobe or putting up a satellite dish, you must get our formal written approval before doing anything. We need to know exactly what you want to do, who you want to do the work and when you want to start. If your plans involve altering the structure of the building a Technical Officer will need to visit you. Some improvements will need planning permission and Building Regulations approval. For more information about making home improvements, phone our Customer Service Team on 0800 633 5500.
The Trust will not normally refuse any reasonable request. Small improvements such as fitting a dado rail or changing the internal doors should just be a question of writing in for permission. Larger improvements such as renewing a kitchen, fitting patio doors or knocking down walls are more involved and more detailed information will be required by your housing officer before a decision can be given.
You will have to pay for maintaining and repairing any improvements you make to your home.
What information we ask for will depend on the job. For example for erecting a garden shed, a simple drawing giving the dimensions and the approximate location is sufficient. However if you want to change the electrical fittings or knock down a wall, the Trust would need to consider if the proposed work:-
- Will make the property unsafe
- Will cause expense for the Trust
- Would reduce the value of the property
- Would affect your neighbours
It may be necessary for your Housing Officer to visit your property accompanied by a surveyor to assess the extent of the proposed work.
Any work that involves electric or gas in your home needs permission and must be carried out by a qualified competent tradesperson.
Some work may require planning permission and will need to comply with building regulations; the surveyor may be able to provide some guidance on these matters but the responsibility for obtaining this permission and complying with Building Regulations lies with you – the tenant.
When the work is finished you must tell us. We will visit your within 10 working days to check that the improvements have been done properly. If they have not been done properly you may have to pay to put them right.
If you carry out work:
- Without asking for permission
- Which is not to the required standard
- Even though the Trust has refused permission
we can restore your home to the way it was. If we have to do this we will recharge you for the work. The Trust can do this whilst you are still a tenant or when you give up your tenancy.
When you move
If you move, most improvements must be left behind because they are an essential part of the building. You cannot take them with you. For example:
- Bath or shower, wash basin and toilet
- Kitchen units, sinks and work tops
- Central heating
If you are ending a tenancy you may be eligible to make a compensation claim for the improvement work that you have done. This can be done 28 days before you leave your home and not more than 14 days after your tenancy has been ended. To find out if you can claim and how much money you may be able to get, you must tell us:
- What improvements you have made
- How much each improvement cost
- The dates the improvements were started and finished