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Compensation for improvements

You have the right to put in your own improvements such as central heating, a satellite dish, gas fire, or put up structures such as sheds, fences, garages. But you must get the Council's agreement in writing before doing any work like this. We will not refuse consent unless there is a good reason.

You may also need Planning Permission and Building Regulation approval.

New bathroom

Compensation scheme for making improvements

The Council has a Compensation Scheme that gives money back to tenants when they leave their property for work they may have carried out. The maximum compensation payable is £3,000, but will depend on the cost of improvement and its remaining "notional life" (see table below).

Any money owed by the tenant to the Council will be deducted from the compensation payment and any disputes arising between the tenant and the Council will be settled in the County Court, if agreement cannot be reached mutually.

You can only receive compensation to help with the cost of works, if:

  • You have the written approval of the Council before starting the work.
  • The work is one or more of the qualifying improvements highlighted in the table below.
  • You have left or are about to leave the home you carried out the improvement to, because you have stopped being a council tenant, or you have transferred or exchanged homes. You will not qualify if the transfer was only to a member of your household, eg succession, or if you are being evicted.
  • You make a written claim no more than 28 days before the end of the tenancy, or within 14 days of the end of the tenancy.

We cannot offer help with the cost of works if:

  • The improvement was started before 1 April 1994.
  • The value of any compensation would be less than £50.
  • You are buying your home. Any valuation of the property for sale purposes will not include the value of the improvement.

Who can claim?

Apart from meeting the conditions outlined earlier, to qualify for compensation you must either be or have been a secure tenant of the Council or part of a joint tenancy. In certain cases, you may be able to claim if the improvement was carried out by a previous tenant of the same address. Please ask your Management Officer for more information.

How much compensation will I get?

To decide how much compensation you may be entitled to we have to consider the "acceptable cost" of the improvement, and its "notional life".

  • The "acceptable cost" is the actual cost of work, less any grants, professional fees, fees relating to planning permission or building regulations and the tenant's own labour. Please keep copies of all paperwork relating to the improvement, especially invoices and receipts.
  • The "notional life" is the assumed lifetime of the improvement, taking into account its likely deterioration over the years.
  • The acceptable cost is divided into equal, annual instalments over the notional life of the improvement.

Will any other factors affect the amount of compensation?

The Council may reduce the amount payable, but only where it is reasonable to do so. For example, if gold plated taps were fitted when the Council would normally only provide chrome ones, the compensation will be based on the cost of supplying chrome taps.

Additionally, if the work could have been done to an equal standard, but with cheaper labour, the lower labour cost will form the basis for the compensation payable. If the improvement has deteriorated more rapidly than anticipated, this would also affect the payment.

How we work out how much compensation to pay

If you installed central heating costing £2,400 and gave up the tenancy three years later, we would:

  • Take the notional life of the heating system from the table overleaf as 12 years.
  • Divide the acceptable cost (£2,400) into 12 equal, annual instalments, ie £200 per year.

At the end of three years, the value of the central heating has reduced by £600 (3 x £200). If the initial cost of £2,400 is fair and reasonable and the system has been properly maintained, the compensation we would pay is £1,800. (£2,400 for cost of central heating, minus £600 reduction in value after three years.

New radiator valve

How to claim

If you would like to claim compensation please fill in the Tenant alterations - application form. This should be returned, no later than 14 days after the end of your tenancy, with the necessary supporting details. We will try and deal with your claim as quickly as possible. Our target is 10 working days.

Qualifying improvements and their notional lives

  • New bath or shower: 12 years
  • New wash-hand basin: 12 years
  • New toilet: 12 years
  • New kitchen sink: 10 years
  • Storage cupboards in kitchen or bathroom 10 years
  • New work surfaces for food preparation: 10 years
  • Space or water heating 12 years:
  • Thermostatic radiator valves: 7 years
  • Insulation of pipes, water tank or cylinder: 10 years
  • Loft insulation: 20 years
  • Cavity wall insulation: 20 years
  • Draught proofing of external doors/windows: 8 years
  • Double glazing/window replacement: 20 years
  • Rewiring/provision of power and lighting: 15 years
  • Security measures (excluding burglar alarms): 10 years