Alterations and improvements
The council encourages tenants to carry out improvements to their homes, but you must get written permission before starting. Please write to the Housing Customer Services team giving details of the work and, if appropriate, a sketch plan of what you intend to do. Alternatively, you can complete our council tenant alteration request online form.
- Plans of the proposed work
- Details of any professional trades people you plan to use
- As much information as possible about what you want to do
This is the case both for council tenants and leaseholders.
We will not normally refuse permission for work unless it is likely to:
- affect the safety of the building,
- cause a future maintenance problem
- cause a nuisance to your neighbours.
Sometimes, we may attach conditions to the permission, such as insisting that the work is carried out by a competent contractor and to a satisfactory standard.
You do not need permission to
- decorate the inside of your home
- carry out minor improvements such as tiling*.
*However, you must not fit polystyrene (or similar material) ceiling tiles or coving as they are a fire risk. If you do, you will need to pay for the cost of their removal.
You do need permission to:
- install hard floor finishes such as laminate flooring, hardwood overlay or ceramic tiles
- have bare floorboards in any room in your home.
We will not refuse permission unreasonably, but we will probably only grant permission if you live in a house or ground floor flat, as hard flooring can cause a noise nuisance to your neighbours.
If you move, you will be expected to return the home to its original condition or to leave any alterations in place. If we have to do any work to put things right, you may be charged for this - please see our recharges page for further details. Please check with the Housing Customer Services team before you move out.
What about aerials, sheds & other structures?
Council tenants must get our written permission before erecting sheds, garages, greenhouses or extra fencing. We do not allow very large structures or sheds which cut out neighbours' light or views, and you are not allowed to put sheds or garages against a boundary fence.
Tenants must also get our written permission before putting up external aerials. We will insist that the aerial is properly fixed and does not interfere with other residents' TV and radio reception. There are also restrictions on the siting of CB aerials and satellite dishes.
What happens once I have requested permission?
A member of the housing team or a surveyor may visit your home and we will write to you telling you whether you have permission and whether there are any conditions attached. In some cases you may also need to obtain planning permission or the consent of building control before going ahead with the work. We will advise you if this is needed and give you details of who to contact.
Usually, the council's area surveyor will inspect the work you have carried out to check that it has been done to a satisfactory standard.
If permission is refused and you feel the decision is unreasonable, you can make a complaint via our Standards and Complaints team. You can contact them:
- online using the comments, compliments and complaints form
- by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- by phone: Freephone 0500 291229 or Minicom 01273 291070
- by using the complaints, comments & compliments form supplied at council offices
- or by writing to us at: Brighton & Hove City Council, Standards & Complaints, FREEPOST SEA2560, Brighton, BN1 1ZW (no stamp needed)