Oxford City Council

PO Box 10, Oxford, OX1 1EN
Tel 01865 249811
Web http://www.oxford.gov.uk/


Making Your Own Improvements to Council Homes

What You Are Entitled To

If you are an introductory tenant you do not have the right to carry out any changes to the property. We will consider any requests to carry out changes but would normally only give permission if or when we give you a secure tenancy.

If you are a secure tenant you are entitled to make your own improvements to your home, but you do need our agreement in writing before you start. You may also need to seek planning permission and Building Regulations approval before you start work.

How to get our agreement

Send us the details of the work including a plan and details of the materials to be used at least 28 days before you intend to start the work.

We will arrange for a surveyor to visit you at home and check that the work will be safe, the effect on the property and other people will be assessed and give advice about getting planning and building permission if necessary.

We will then write to you within 10 working days of visiting your home to tell you whether we agree to the work.

If you are in breach of a Suspended Possession Order, this means that you have lost your right to be a secure tenant and the rights that go along with the security of a Council tenancy. This means that we will not agree to the work.

If We Agree

And you have got the other permissions you need, go ahead and do the work. Any electrical or gas work must be done by industry approved contractors.

If We Do Not Agree

You must not do the work - you could end up having to put it all back again, and we could take action against you for breaking the terms of your Tenancy Agreement.

When the work is finished

You must tell us as soon as the work is finished. We will then visit within three months to check that everything is in order. If it isn't, we will ask you to put the work right or to restore the property to how it was before you started.

Minor DIY Work

We are happy for you to carry out minor DIY such as putting up shelves or changing bath panels, but you should not carry out work to electrical or gas fittings.

You must take care to avoid drilling where electrical wires might run and where sealed asbestos sheets are present. If you are unsure about any board/panel in your home, please contact us for an inspection. Visit our Asbestos Awareness page for more details on this subject.

Who repairs and maintains these improvements?

It is your responsibility to maintain any improvements you have carried out. We have the right to inspect the work and to insist on certain ways the work should be done.

What happens to the improvement if you leave your home?

If you leave your home you may be able to take non structural improvements with you - cupboards for example, but you must 'make good' after you have removed the fixtures, by filling in holes and repainting, and in some cases reinstating the original fittings. If you don't do this we will charge you for putting it right.

If you leave the improvement behind when you go - because it is an essential part of your home like central heating or bathroom fittings you may be able to claim compensation, but only if you have done this with our written permission and have the original receipts.

You cannot get compensation if:

  • you did not get our permission in writing before you did the work
  • your tenancy ended because you breached the tenancy conditions and we made you leave
  • the amount of compensation comes to less than £50.

Your Rights as a Council Tenant

You can apply for compensation when your tenancy ends - which is usually when you move. Visit the Department for Communities and Local Government website to download the leaflet on tenants rights.

Contact us

Phone: 0800 22 76 76
Email us

Direct Services
Horspath Road
Oxford, OX4 2RH

Page last reviewed 1 March 2012


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