Can I Change My Council House Doors?

Council houses are maintained by the council authorities to provide a safe environment for their tenants. Through this article we will explore whether tenants can change the doors of their council houses and what are the important points to keep in view while making alterations or repairs to council property. In addition to this, we will also review the role of council authorities in the repair and maintenance of council homes such as changes to kitchens and bathrooms; as well as learn about the role of tenants if they wish to extend or decorate council property that they live in. 

Can I Change My Council House Doors?

Yes, you can change your council house doors as long as you have permission from your local council authorities. While local councils will periodically change the external or main door of council houses, most of the time tenants replace their internal or room doors. In certain cases, they may be able to attain a good deal through their council authorities as they may be able to recommend people and places for council house renovations.

In addition to internal doors, council housing tenants are also responsible for the following repairs required in the property that they reside in:

  • Bath panels
  • Change of locks due to loss of keys
  • Chimney sweeping
  • Curtain rails and pelmets
  • Electrical units inside the home, including the doorbell
  • Floorboards and tiles
  • Independent central heating system, heaters and fires
  • Internal and window frames and glazing
  • Letter boxes 
  • Light bulbs and fluorescent tubes
  • Partitions inside the home
  • Plasterboard and plastering
  • Plugs and chains to sinks and baths
  • Plumbing installed for washing machines and dishwashers
  • Repairs to doors and drawers of kitchen units
  • Skirting boards
  • Toilet seats
  • Tap washers

Council authorities (this includes housing associations) are responsible for making sure that tenants live in a safe and secure  property and they maintain responsibility for most repairs including the following:

  • The building structure includes external doors, roof, walls and windows
  • Lifts and communal entrances
  • Toilets, baths, pipes and sinks
  • Heating and hot water
  • Gas appliances
  • Electrical wiring and any appliances that they have provided

However, if repairs are required due to damage caused to them by you or your guests, you will be required to bear the expense of these repairs.

There are certain home improvements that tenants can manage on their own but this depends on the type of their tenancy. 

If you are a secure tenant, you can seek permission from your council authorities and manage minor changes or upgrades to your council house on your own.

In fact, as a secure tenant, you can carry out interior and exterior decor as well as home improvement tasks such as installing new bathrooms or a fireplace or even building an extension or greenhouse. Still, you must obtain written permission from your social housing landlord or housing association prior to the start of any such work on the property.

However, you will need to make sure that any building or reconstruction that is carried out in your council house fulfills Building Regulations.

On the other hand, introductory tenants may only be allowed to conduct minor repairs inside their house, while fixed-term tenants may not be allowed to make any changes to the council house. 

How Often Do Councils Replace Kitchens?

As a general rule, kitchens in council houses are meant to last a minimum of 30 years. In addition to the age of the property, the below criteria are essential for kitchen replacements in council houses:

  • A new kitchen has not been fitted in the past 30 years (these include referrals from social services).
  • No major repairs have been carried out in the recent five years.
  • The tenant has not applied to purchase their council house under the Right To Buy scheme.

Unless there is a dire need for a kitchen replacement due to unforeseen circumstances, kitchen replacements are not undertaken before the end of a 30 year period. However, small scale alterations and installments can be carried out by tenants with approval from the council.

Any installations that are required will be prioritised depending on the age of the property. Once a tenant’s request for kitchen replacement is approved, the council assigns a design consultant to visit the property and discuss the layout/requirements.

How Can I Get A New Bathroom From Council?

To get a new bathroom from the council, it is essential that the property that you are living in fulfils the following conditions:

  • The current bathroom facility is at least 30 years old.
  • No major repairs have been carried out on the bathroom in the recent five years.
  • The tenant has not applied to purchase their council house.

Generally speaking, a basic bathroom upgrade includes the following modifications to the existing facility:

  • new wash hand basin, toilet and bath, over bath electric shower and light fitting
  • freshly papered and painted bathroom walls and ceiling painted with floor vinyl laid
  • fitting of wallboards fitted around the bath and behind the wash hand basin area

Any installations that are required from the council will be prioritised depending on the age of the property. Once a tenant’s request for bathroom replacement is approved, a design consultant visits the property and discusses the layout/requirements.

What Are Building Regulations?

These are some basic standards for the design and structural changes that are to occur and are essential to be met during the construction, conversion or refurbishment of properties. Building Regulations have been set to assure that the health and safety of the residents will not be compromised in any way as a result of the said modifications to the property. 

These include the following:

  • Structural changes such as house extensions or conversions should not affect a load-bearing wall, beam or chimney breast or which will make access to property difficult. 
  • There should be no electrical safety concerns due to the addition of fuse boxes or plugs, or a change of electrics that causes new electrical wiring.
  • Installation of heating appliances such as a boiler, radiator or fuel-burning appliance should be managed with extreme caution.
  • There should be no concern for fire hazards due to construction work and the escape route (of the added/converted section to the premises) must comply with fire safety standards.
  • Installation of a new bathroom or kitchen should not affect the overall plumbing of the house.
  • New windows, doors or fixed air-conditioning systems should meet the safety and design standards set by Building Regulations.

What Is Included In Permitted Development?

The scope of Permitted Development runs across varied projects that may be related to the internal or external structure of a property. Home improvement projects under Permitted Development include the following:

  • building of a small rear extension 
  • construction of a porch 
  • changes of use including loft, garage or basement conversions
  • knocking down internal walls
  • installation of solar panels 
  • installation of satellite dishes 
  • addition of rooflights or dormer windows

Can I Extend My Council House?

Yes, you can extend your council house as long as you have taken permission from the council authority to proceed with any work on council property. Their permission will mainly depend on the type of council tenancy that an applicant is under. Secure tenants will find it easier to be granted permission for making major changes such as adding an extension to their council house as they are eligible to continue remaining as occupants for a lifetime. However, fixed tenants will not be able to attain permission until they qualify to become secure tenants.

Despite your tenancy status, you will still need to get your design for the extension approved by the council office and planning permission. 

Changes to council property that need permission from council authorities include the following:

  • Building a parking space, garage, hard standing or driveway
  • Electrical work 
  • Flooring (this does not include) 
  • Gas work; such as central heating 
  • Installing a new kitchen or bathroom 
  • Installing a satellite dish or aerial
  • Installing a shed, porch, fence, conservatory, greenhouse, patio, decking, aviary, pigeon loft, fishpond, pool, or similar structure in the garden 
  • Plumbing work 
  • Structural work 

Can I Decorate My Council House?

Yes, not only can you decorate council houses, but in some cases, the council provides you with a voucher when you move into a council house to purchase items for home decor. You may be able to use this voucher for specific items only. However, with certain items paid for, you can allocate your own finances to other areas of home furnishing.

In some cases, if a council house resident is above 70 years of age and claiming benefits, they can apply for help with home decor especially if the following conditions are being met:

  • The resident is above 70 years of age and claiming benefits
  • They have no help to get home decor work carried out 
  • The room(s) have not been decorated in at least 10 years
  • The resident has been paying their rent on time
  • There are no legal notices against the property
  • They have not applied to purchase the property

In some cases, certain home improvement tasks need to be carried out prior to home decor. These may include rewiring, extensive re-plastering or fitting central heating systems. You should make sure that there is a thorough assessment of the kind of home improvements that are required so that such work is complete before you start decorating your council house. In most cases, your council or social housing landlord will bear the expense of major home improvements.

What Are Council House Fencing Rules?

Council authorities will provide fencing on your property in case of the following situations:

  • the property is adjacent to a public path or public alleyway
  • the property is intended is for communal areas
  • the property opens onto a public highway

However, maintenance of the fence is the tenant’s responsibility. If you want a higher fence or a more secure one for your pets than the one that is provided by the council, you will need to erect one on your own and bear its cost. You will need the council’s permission before you make any alterations to council property even if you have purchased the council house you live in.

Similarly, if you need a fence to divide your side of the garden from your neighbour’s, remove, change or alter an existing fence, you will have to bear the expense on your own, while the council will only grant permission to do so. 


The above discussion makes it clear that council housing tenants can replace their house doors but only if they have taken written permission from their local council office. If they are in dire need of a change and are unable to afford a new door for their council house, tenants may benefit from vendor recommendations or vouchers from council authorities. It must be kept in mind that while councils will replace external doors on their own, the cost and responsibility of replacing internal doors remains with tenants. 

FAQs: Can I Change My Council House Doors?

Can you remove a wall in a council house?

Yes, you can remove a wall in a council only if you have permission from the council authorities and the work is done under Building Regulations. In some cases, councils will carry out the work for you and charge you for it.

Do council houses come with carpets?

No council houses do not come with carpets as they are mostly unfurnished unless someone is living in supported housing. If tenants wish to place carpets in a council house, they can do so at their own expense and remove them when they vacate the premises.

Can I get funding for carpets?

While the council may not be able to periode direct financial assistance or funding for placing carpets in council property, they can help tenants by suggesting local schemes or welfare assistance programs through which funding can be obtained.

Why do councils rip up flooring?

When a tenant leaves a council house, they are asked by council authorities to remove any flooring or carpets placed by them so as to avoid the potential risk of germs or flea infestations due to house pets or if the flooring is not in a good condition.

How can I get a free cooker?

You can get a free cooker in a council house if you avail the funding scheme of a charity such as Buttle UK, Family Fund, Friends of the Elderly or League of the Helping Hand.


Carrying out improvements and alterations to your council home

Making alterations to your council house

Altering my property

Types of repair you are responsible for | Islington Council

Council housing: Repairs and maintenance – GOV.UK

Repairs and maintenance in council and housing association homes – Shelter England

Council house improvements

Guidance overview: Permitted development rights for householders: technical guidance

Kitchen and Bathroom Replacement

Council House – Applying for a new Kitchen and Bathroom – Home Swap.

Extending a council house ??

Alterations to council properties | LBHF

Carrying out improvements and alterations to your council home

Improvements and alterations

Planning permission: When you do not need it – GOV.UK

Get help with decorating your council home

Which side of the fence is mine council house?