Alterations and improvements

Tenants and leaseholders have the right to make improvements to their homes, but they must get permission before any work starts by completing the online alteration form. Tenants and leaseholders also need to find their own qualified trades people.

Some works may also require planning permission, building regulation consent or highways approval.

Please read the following guidance before submitting your application.

Plans must be submitted if the alterations or improvements fall into the following types of work:

  • structural changes to a property, for example conservatories, loft conversions, driveways or hardstands.
  • bathroom or kitchen changes or refits<
  • garden buildings, fencing and decking
  • changes to electrical or plumbing works

This applies to applications by both council tenants and leaseholders.

If you do not submit plans where required, this will cause delays to the approval process and can result in your application being refused on receipt.

What changes do I need permission for?

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.

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.

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.

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 for an alteration?

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 Customer Feedback team. You can contact them:

 CCTV requests

If you wish to install CCTV on your council home, you need to seek our permission first. Please download and complete the application form. Then return the completed form to or post to Housing Customer Services, Housing Centre, Unit 1, Fairway Trading Estate, Eastergate Road, Brighton, BN2 4QL. If you would like us to post you a copy, please call us on 01273 293030.