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Tenant Alterations

Who can make alterations to their home

If you are a secure tenant, you have the right to make alterations to your home and garden, however, it is a condition of your Tenancy Agreement that you must seek written permission from Colchester Borough Homes, as your landlord. Leaseholders may also need written permission for some home improvements. Introductory tenants can decorate their homes, but do not have the right to alter their home in any other way.

What is an alteration?

Any changes, other than decorating your home are classed as an alteration. You must not alter your home or fix anything to it without first getting our written permission.

There are some alterations that are not permitted, these are:

  • Conservatories
  • Car ports
  • Cat flaps
  • Loft conversions
  • Decking
  • Extensions
  • Log burners
  • Laminate flooring if you live in a 1st or 2nd floor flat

Examples of alterations that you need permission for are:

  • Installing your own bathroom or kitchen
  • Changing any electrical fitting
  • EV Charging Point
  • Changing the layout of your home, e.g. knocking down walls
  • Taking doors off
  • Fitting gas appliances
  • Fitting satellite and phone dishes
  • Fitting laminate flooring
  • Altering or erecting fencing or brick walling

Unauthorised Alterations

If you carry out an alteration without permission, Colchester Borough Homes will need to carry out an inspection to grant retrospective permission. You will be charged for this inspection. In the event that retrospective permission is not granted you will be asked to remove the alteration at your cost.

Laminate Flooring

We will give permission to lay laminate flooring if you live in a house, bungalow or ground floor flat. Please be aware that you will be responsible for lifting and relaying the laminate flooring to enable work to be carried out in your home (such as a rewire). If you do not do this, Colchester Borough Homes will instruct a contractor to do this and you will be recharged for this. Colchester Borough Homes will not take responsibility for any damage to your flooring caused by this.

EV Charging point

At present permission to install an electric vehicle (EV) charging point will be granted if there is designated off-street parking at the property with a dropped kerb and hardstanding, subject to the agreement of the electrical provider and compliance requirements. We cannot currently give permission if residents live in a flat as you need a designated parking space and charging cables cannot be placed over public land, such as pavements, even on a temporary basis.
The Council’s recently updated Asset Management Strategy (AMS) recognises the need to meet the Government’s plan for a Green Industrial Revolution including the proposal that no new cars or vans sold in the UK from 2030 will be wholly powered by diesel or petrol.  The Council and Colchester Borough Homes (CBH) will plan how to deliver local on-street EV charging points to allow residents to charge their vehicles.  The rollout of the Council’s new AMS could enable the housing portfolio to be 2030 ready, when the proportion of electric vehicles is anticipated to start increasing rapidly.
The Government published the ‘Taking charge: the electric vehicle infrastructure strategy’ in March 2022. The Council will need to consider the contents of the strategy and the role local authorities are expected to play in the delivery of the action plan. Central Government and energy providers are also providing grants to residents generally to support the installation costs. Further details can be obtained from the HM GOV and energy providers websites.
The Council and CBH will develop and consult on opportunities allowing tenants and leaseholders to give their views on the planning, charging and rollout of public EV charging points.


The installation of CCTV at your home is considered a tenant alteration and therefore you must first obtain permission from us in writing. You should refer to your tenancy conditions with regards to alterations. All requests will be assessed on a case by case basis.

Some things to consider:

  • The system must be fitted by a suitably qualified technician. We may ask that you provide evidence of this.
  • You will be responsible for maintaining the equipment and must remove the CCTV system when you move and repair any damage caused to the property, such as where holes have been drilled in walls.
  • The CCTV cameras must only record images within your boundary. We will not give permission for CCTV to be fitted to flats that would monitor internal or external communal areas.
  • The CCTV camera must not cause a nuisance to neighbours, for example be directed on to another person’s property. This would constitute a violation of privacy and/or harassment.

When asking for permission to install CCTV you must tell us:

  • The reason you wish to install CCTV.
  • Details of the number of cameras and where they will be positioned.
  • Information regarding what the cameras will be monitoring.

We reserve the right to review or withdraw permission should the CCTV be misused or is the subject of a complaint.

Once we have reviewed your application we will provide you with a decision in writing.

Building Control and Planning Permission

As well as applying for permission from Colchester Borough Homes, depending on the type of work you plan to carry out, you may also need to obtain permission from other Council Services etc, Planning Services and/or Building Control.

Repairs and leaving your home

You will be responsible for maintaining any alterations and any associated repairs. Please also be aware that you may be asked to remove the alteration and return the property to its’ original condition when you leave your home.

Health and Safety

We closely monitor alterations in our properties, your homes, to ensure that you are safe. If alterations do not meet the required standard they can be hazardous and jeopardise your safety. If in doubt, please ask.

What happens after I apply for permission from Colchester Borough Homes?

We may need to visit your home to carry out an inspection, and then we will write to tell you if you have been given permission to do the work, this will be within 28 days. There may be certain conditions that you need to adhere to when carrying out the work. Please do not start work until you have returned the signed acceptance form and have any other necessary permissions.

Do I have to notify Colchester Borough Homes when the work is complete?

Depending on the type of work that you have carried out we will need to inspect the work, you will also be required to send Colchester Borough Homes any relevant certification relating to electrical or gas work.

Will I have to pay for permission?

Colchester Borough Homes do not charge a fee. However, fees may be charged by other services, such as Planning, Building Control or Essex County Council Highways department.

How do I apply for permission from Colchester Borough Homes?

We will require the following information:
• Your name, address and contact telephone number
• What work you would like to carry out?
• The location of the works
• Who will be carrying out the work and is the person qualified to do the work?
• Any drawings or photos that will assist your application

Although we aim to respond to your request as soon as possible, please allow 28 days for a formal response.

You can apply for permission by completing this form or writing to Tenant Alterations, Colchester Borough Homes, Sheepen Road, Colchester, CO3 3WG.