Home improvements and decorating your home

There are home improvements you can make without our permission including papering the walls and painting the skirting boards, walls and ceilings. If you complete a Home Improvement application form, we can issue guidance notes for further information.

If you are an assured tenant, leasehold or shared owner, as long as you have our written permission, you can make alterations or improvements to your home.

If you are an assured shorthold (starter) tenant, you do not have a statutory right to carry out improvements or alterations. Reasonable requests from starter tenants to carry out improvements or alterations will be considered. You must complete the relevant Home improvement application form below, for a decision to be made. These notes are for guidance only.

Home improvements where permission is needed

  • Drive / hard standing
  • Garage
  • Kitchen alterations
  • Bathroom
  • External doors and windows         .
  • Fire and surround
  • Major structural work
  • Gas or electrical work
  • Fence, wall, hedge, gate
  • Pond, water feature
  • Sheds, garden structures
  • Decking, raised platform

No permission or visit required

  • CCTV, Alarms, and camera doorbells (plug in only)
  • Floor coverings (includes wood flooring, laminate, floor tiling, linoleum and cushion flooring)
  • Internal decoration (includes plastering, coving, dado rails, architraves, skirting, pictures, shelves and mirrors)
  • Internal doors (includes pre-fitted factory installed glass)
  • Outside tap
  • Oxygen in the home (excluding any apartments first floor and above)

Tenant Home improvement application form

Find out more

Leaseholder / Shared Owner Home improvement application form

Find out more

Right to compensation for improvements claim form

Find out more

Home improvements FAQs

Can I have a dropped kerb at my home?

A ‘vehicle crossing’ or ‘dropped kerb’ is a section of kerb lowered 
to provide vehicle access to a property.

If you'd like to drive over a pavement or grass verge to access your driveway, you will need to apply for permission. Find out more in our guidance sheet

Can I install an electric vehicle (EV) charger at my home?

If you have bought or are thinking about buying an electric vehicle (EV), then you may want a charging point at home (EV charger). 

Read our guide to see how you can apply for permission to install an EV charger at your home. 

Can I claim for improvements and alterations I have made to my home when I end my tenancy?

This information is for guidance only and does not give a legal interpretation or a summary of all the rules, which apply to the scheme.

Which tenancies qualify?

  • Assured Tenancy
  • Assured Non-Shorthold Tenancy

Which tenancies do not qualify?

  •  Assured Shorthold (Starter) Tenancy

Do I qualify?

Yes, if:

  • The work was carried out after 1 April 1994.
  • The claim is made during the four weeks period of notice or within 14 days of your tenancy ending.
  • You paid for the work yourself.
  • You have taken over the tenancy from the person who did pay for the work, such as a partner or parent. If you are not sure, contact a member of the WDH Survey team by phoning 01977 788248 or OneCALL 0345 8 507 507, or you can write to WDH Survey team, Merefield House, Whistler Drive, Castleford, WF10 5HX.
  • You can provide the original receipts for the cost of the work carried out to justify your claim.
  • You received written permission to carry out the work from WDH or your local authority.

No, if:

  • Your tenancy is ending because of a breach of your tenancy agreement.
  • The work was done before 1 April 1994.
  • Your claim was made more than 14 days after your tenancy ended.
  • You cannot provide the original receipts for the cost of the work carried out.
  • You do not have written permission for the work carried out from WDH or your local authority.
  • You have purchased your home under the Right to Buy, or Right to Acquire schemes.
  • Your claim for compensation amounts to less than £50.
  • We have already paid compensation for the improvements. 

What can I claim for?

  •  The costs you have paid out for material and labour. 

Note: The maximum compensation we will pay for any improvements done to the property is £3,000 and the minimum is £50. Under the scheme we cannot pay any compensation if the amount falls under £50 for any claim. 

What can’t I claim for?

  • Your own labour, if you carried out any of the work yourself.
  • Appliances such as built-in cookers, hobs and ovens and fridges and so on.
  • Professional fees you may have incurred from architects, the drawing up of plans, or planning application fees. 

What improvements can I claim for?

The following list gives the qualifying improvements set out under the scheme. Each improvement has been allocated a ‘notional life’, this means the useful lifespan of the improvement before it would need to be renewed or upgraded. This is used to work out the amount of compensation we would pay. 

Qualifying improvement Notional life (years)
Bath or shower 12
Wash-hand basin 12
Toilet 12
Kitchen sink 10
Storage cupboards in bathroom or kitchen 10
Work surfaces for food preparation (worktops) 10
Space or water heating 12
Thermostatic radiator valves 7
Insulation of pipes, water tank or cylinder 10
Loft insulation 20
Cavity wall insulation 20
Draught proofing of external doors or windows 8
Double glazing or other external window replacement or secondary glazing 20
Rewiring or the provision of power and lighting or other electrical fittings (including smoke detectors) 15
Any object, which improves the security of the dwelling house, but not including burglar alarms 10

How do you calculate how much compensation will be paid?

We consider certain facts about the original cost of the improvements. The assessment will include someone from WDH visiting your home to inspect the improvements.

We will be checking:

  • Whether or not the cost of the improvement was excessive.
  • The quality of the improvement meets WDH’s approved standard.
  • The current condition of the improvement.
  • Whether the improvement has deteriorated less or more than provided for in the notional life for that improvement.
  • The improvement was installed in accordance with any regulations or standards, such as electrical regulations.

Following this inspection the original cost of the improvements submitted will be worked out with the findings. We will deduct any grants you may have received towards the cost of the improvements or alterations.

The compensation payable is shown as a fraction of the initial costs of the improvement divided by the notional life allocated to the improvement, multiplied by the number of useful years left since the date you completed the work.

For example - If your improvement costs £2,000, excluding appliances, the notional life is 10 years and your tenancy ends six years after you installed it. There would be four years left of what is expected as being the useful life of the improvement.

Compensation would be £800 (£2,000 divided by 10 = £200 x 4 = £800).  

We will offset any compensation payable to you against any debt you may owe WDH, such as rent arrears. Any amount of compensation awarded is subject to the improvement or alteration being left in the condition they were in when the surveyor visited your property.

Where should I send my completed claim form?

Once you have completed the Right to Compensation for Improvements claim form, send it to the Survey team, remember to attach the original receipts so we can process it straight away.

Your claim will be acknowledged within 10 days of the Survey team receiving it. Whatever the outcome of your claim, you will receive a letter explaining how we arrived at the final decision or amount of compensation payable to you. 

Do I have the right to appeal against the outcome of my claim?

Yes. You should appeal to the survey manager within 28 days of receiving your letter. 

Your appeal should state why you think the decision is wrong. 

The survey manager will evaluate your claim to ensure the procedures have been followed and the calculation has been carried out correctly.

You will be contacted by letter to explain what the outcome of your appeal is.

The survey manager will either make a revised offer of compensation or confirm the original decision.