Home improvements and alterations
As you settle into your home, you may think about making some improvements or alterations. This guide explains what changes you can make as well as how and when to apply for them.
What improvements you can make and when
Unless your lease or transfer agreement strictly prohibits it, we're happy for you to make the following improvements to your home
- general re-decoration, including painting or boxing-in of pipework
- inserting or removing fitted wardrobes and cabinets
- installing shelves, wall-mounted TVs or curtain poles
- landscape gardening, excluding outside taps, lighting, pipework or the erection of any garden building such as sheds, outhouses, garages and summer houses
- replacing carpet flooring
- replacing interior lights and light fittings (switches and dimmers)
Please be aware that you cannot make any home improvements during the initial new-build warranty period. Some improvements are also subject to certain conditions, planning permission and other regulations.
To learn more about the improvement or alteration clauses within your lease or transfer agreement, please contact our Homeownership team or seek independent legal advice.
How to request home improvements
To request any minor or major alterations to your home, please sign in to your account and use our online Home Improvement application form.
You can also download the paper version and email it to our Homeownership team.
Before you submit the form, please check your lease or transfer document as some home improvements are strictly prohibited.
What happens when you submit your application?
When we receive your application, we'll check your lease or transfer document as well as our policies for any terms which may stop us from approving your request.
To prevent any delays with your application, please be as detailed as possible about the work you intend to carry out.
Once we have all the relevant information, we'll let you know if your request has been accepted or declined.
It's important to know that you’ll need to cover all fees associated with carrying out home improvements if your application gets approved. This includes our administration and legal fees, your legal fees as well as any required surveyor's costs.
Depending on the work, a structural surveyor's report may be required. However, we'll let you know if this is necessary and share details of some firms who can assist you.
Once the structural surveyor's report has been completed, the surveyor will send a copy directly to us. We’ll review the report, along with your lease or transfer documents and let you know the outcome.
For any approved works that require changes to your lease or transfer document, we’ll ask for your solicitor's details in order for your lease/transfer to be varied.
The solicitors will progress your home improvement case accordingly and a Deed of Variation will be completed to make the necessary amendments to your lease/transfer document.
Other things to consider when requesting home improvements
You'll need our permission to make improvements if we own the freehold of your home or your home is on an L&Q estate where there are restrictions as to what improvements are acceptable.
We’ll consider all applications for improvements or alterations affecting the building you live in and the surrounding areas. This includes communal areas, gardens, roof and loft spaces - but we must guarantee that the structure of the building remains safe for all occupants and that any changes made do not adversely affect the rights of other individuals who live in the building or on the estate.
On occasion, we may not be the freeholder who owns the building, estate or land where your home is located. In these situations, the freeholder's permission is normally required.
If you're a shared owner who would like to make major alterations to your home, you'll need to own 50% of the property. You may be expected to staircase (buy more shares) if you own less than half of your home.
If you live in a shared ownership house, you'll also need our written permission for certain alterations until you own 100% of the property and become the freeholder.
For freehold houses on L&Q estates, there may be restrictions that do not allow you to undertake major home improvements without our consent.