Improvements to Your Home

If you are a secure or an assured tenant you have the right to make certain improvements or alterations to your home. We have published a list of these improvements and alterations in your Resident’s Handbook.


Do I need permission to make alterations and improvements?

If you want to carry out alterations or improvements to your home you must receive our permission. Permission will not be unreasonably withheld. However, the following conditions apply:

  • You must receive our permission to carry out the improvement.
  • You must have our approval for the improvement before work starts.
  • The work must be carried out by a person qualified to a proper standard.
  • The improvement must be of a good quality and be inspected by one of our surveyors.

You should also remember that for some work, e.g.improvements or additions to the property, you may need to obtain others approval before proceeding, for example planning permission or Building Regulations approval. You will be responsible for any costs associated with these requirements.


How do I get permission

You should write to your Neighbourhood Housing Officer. Your letter should:

  • Describe the alterations or improvements you are proposing to make
  • Include three quotations for the work and give the name, address and telephone numbers of the builders or contractors.
  • Say which contractor you are planning to use and why you have chosen them.
  • We will contact the builders or contractors. We will then write to you to tell you if we are happy for you to proceed. The letter will say what conditions must be met, e.g. planning consent, building regulations consent, qualifications of tradesmen, etc.
  • You must confirm that these conditions have been met before the works start.


What happens when the work is completed?

When the work is completed, we will inspect the improvements or alterations to make sure that we are happy with the standard and quality of the work. We will expect to see any certificates that you have received.

After this we will confirm that the works qualify under the Tenant Right for Compensation for Improvements scheme (see below).

You must keep the payment receipts if you intend to claim compensations when you end your tenancy and leave the property.


What happens when I leave the property?

There are 2 alternatives when you leave your property:

  • You may take any of your new fixtures with you when you leave the property, however you will be required to make good any damage caused by their removal before you leave.
  • You may leave the alterations or improvements behind when you leave with the permission of the Association. In this case you may be eligible for some compensation.
  • Which improvements may qualify for compensation?
  • Compensation will not be the full amount you paid for the improvements or alterations. The amount of compensation will be dependent on how long ago the improvements were carried out as detailed in our Tenant Improvement procedure.

The maximum amount payable in compensation is £3000. The list of qualifying improvements is shown below, with their associated notional life in years:

Improvement Years
Bath or Shower 12
Wash hand basin 12
Toilet 12
Kitchen 10
Storage cupboard in bathroom or kitchen 10
Work surfaces for food preparation 10
Space for water heating 12
Thermostatic radiator valve 7
Insulation or pipes, water tank or cylinder 10
Loft insulation 20
Cavity wall insulation 20
Draught proofing or external doors or windows 8
Mechanical ventilation to kitchens and bathrooms 10
Mechanical ventilation to kitchens and bathrooms 10
Double-glazing or other external window replacement or secondary glazing 20
Rewiring or the provision of power and lighting or other electrical fittings (inc smoke detectors) 15
Any object which improves the security of the dwelling, but excluding burglar alarms 10


How do I claim compensation?

Compensation will only be paid when you end your tenancy and leave your home. To be eligible for compensation the following conditions must have been met:

  • You must have received our permission to carry out the improvement.
  • You must have had our approval for the improvement before the work started.
  • The improvement must be of a good quality and be inspected and approved by one of our surveyors.
  • You must have payment receipts for the cost of the improvement.

We will not pay this compensation when:

  • You have an assured shorthold tenancy.
  • You live in a shared ownership or other leasehold property (other specific arrangements concerning improvements made by shared owners are described in your lease).


Details of how to claim compensation are contained in our Compensation leaflet and in the section within this handbook.


  • Spectrum House, Grange Road,
    Christchurch, Dorset, BH23 4GE
  • 0300 777 7837
  • contact@sovereign.org.uk
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