How Often Do Councils Have To Replace Kitchens?

There are certain basic home improvements that council housing tenants manage on their own while councils may fund some of the others; depending on the eligibility criteria being met. Through this article, we will discuss how often council authorities have to replace kitchens and under what circumstances. Additionally, we will also review home improvements that council tenants can undertake, which changes to properties affect your council tax bill as well as the importance of Building Regulation in this regard. 

How Often Do Councils Have To 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 instalments 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.

There are certain home improvements that tenants can manage on their own but this depends on the type of their tenancy. Secure tenants have the authority to install a new kitchen or an extension for home improvements in their council houses.

For instance, 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. Secure tenants on the other hand 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 attain written permission from your council authorities prior to the start of any such work on the property.

In case of home improvements, you may have to seek permission from the council authorities prior to work commencing on the property. The expense of most of the following may be reimbursed by the council:

  • Kitchen sink and work surfaces 
  • Toilet, bath, shower, wash-basin
  • Storage cupboards 
  • Heating equipment 
  • Radiator valves
  • Insulation
  • Draught-proofing 
  • Double glazing or other window replacement
  • Rewiring, and fixing electrical fittings (including smoke detectors)

Will A Kitchen Replacement Affect My Council Tax Bill?

If a kitchen replacement increases the property value of the house that you are living in may be increased; which may result in an increase in your council tax bill. There are certain circumstances due to which properties may be revalued and their bands reassigned by the local council. Below is a list of factors that may cause a change in band:

  • a part of your property is demolished and is not rebuilt
  • the property is altered to subdivide it into self-contained units, (this could be a single unit with an annexe – each unit will be considered under a separate band) 
  • a single property is reconstructed into self-contained flats
  • flats are converted to a single property
  • residents start or stop working from home
  • changes were made to property the property by the previous owner
  • significant changes such as a new road are being made to the local area
  • the council tax band was changed for a property with similar features in the same area

While some of the changes listed above are directly related to renovations and repairs being made to premises and they also might be in control of the resident, some might be involuntary and external changes that do have an impact on council tax bills. 

Do You Have To Pay Council Tax When Renovating A Property?

If the property is uninhabitable due to the renovations that are being made to it and the nature of work includes structural changes or major home repairs, residents will be exempt from paying council tax for the tenure of the process. 

However, if you are unable to qualify for an exemption from council tax, certain home repairs may count you as eligible for a council tax reduction; while renovations that do not affect everyday living and the property remains occupied while work proceeds will not qualify for either an exemption or a discount.

You may be able to avail of a discount on your council tax bill if any of the following repair works are being done at your home:

  • repair of roof structures or foundations 
  • rebuilding of external walls or chimney stacks, 
  • replacement of floors 
  • removal of internal walls (not partitions)

Can I Apply For A Council Tax Discount For Home Renovations?

To be able to qualify for a council tax discount while your home is being renovated, you must inform your local council office prior to the commencement of the repair work at your premises (or as soon as possible once the work starts. If the claimant informs their local council after the renovations are complete, they will be required to provide substantial evidence to be considered for a council tax discount.

The next steps will be as follows:

Step 1: The council contacts the residents and sends a representative to survey the premises.

Step 2: If the property qualifies for a discount, the reduced amount of council tax will remain applicable for an entire year (this may be up to a 100 per cent discount).

Step 3: Once the property becomes inhabited, residents liable for council tax payments must inform their local council within 21 days.

Step 4 (a): If the property remains unfurnished and uninhabited for less than 2 years, a full council tax bill becomes applicable.

Step 4 (b): If the property remains unfurnished and uninhabited for more than 2 years, residents will be liable to pay a premium called “empty house premium”. This is an additional charge over and above the full amount of their council tax bill.

Can Council Inspect My House?

Yes, council authorities have a duty to visit houses; both privately rented ones and especially council housing premises. Such visits are scheduled in advance and residents are informed ahead of the visit to expect a visit by the council authorities at a specified date and time.

The nature and purpose of this visit may vary. For instance, sometimes visits by council authorities are an informal assessment before a formal inspection is carried out for home improvement or extension work to be carried out.

The reasons for a council visit may include any other following:

  • Inspection or assessment prior to home improvement/restructuring/modification/extension tasks is planned.
  • Inspection or follow up on complaints of pest control.
  • Inspection or assessment in response to complaints by the tenant(s).
  • Inspection or assessment in response to complaints by the neighbours against the tenant(s). 
  • Inspection to check multiple occupancy status (if the resident claims to be a single occupant for the property).

Do I Need Building Regulations For Kitchen Replacement?

Yes, you will need Building Regulations for a kitchen replacement to make sure that your property is not only safe and hazard-free but also improves the overall living standard for you and your surroundings. 

Key areas that you will be required to comply with include the following: 

  • fire safety
  • ventilation
  • thermal performance
  • acoustics

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.


According to House Renovation Cost in 2021 a new kitchen can cost between £10,000 to £25,000. Council authorities may be able to provide these at a lower cost due to simpler designs and low-cost contractors; however, tenants will mostly qualify for a kitchen replacement of the property that is at least 30 years old. Certain home improvements increase the property value of one’s home which may increase their council tax bill in the future.

FAQs: How often do councils have to replace kitchens?

What are housing associations’ responsibilities?

Some of the responsibilities of housing associations include home repairs such as gas and electrical wiring, provision of certain appliances, and maintenance and provision of lifts and communal areas.

Do the council give you money to move out?

While the council does not give you money to move out of council property, they may help tenants through taxpayer-funded grants up to £30,000 to purchase council or private proprty should the tenant wish to do so.

What is a secure council tenant?

A secure tenant is someone who can continue living in their council property for the rest of their lives. Secure tenants have the authority to rent out certain rooms in their council house; however, they cannot sublet the entire property.

Will the council pay me to downsize?

Sometimes council authorities give financial incentives to their tenants to downsize if the council house that they are living in is not in proportion to the number of members in the household.

Can I take over my mum’s council house if she dies?

If you have been living with your mum in her council house for a minimum period of 12 months, you may be able to take over her council house if she dies. However, if it is a joint tenancy with her husband or partner, the first right of occupation will be theirs’ 


Kitchen and bathroom replacement

Council housing: Repairs and maintenance – GOV.UK

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

Repairs and maintenance in your council house

Get help with decorating your council home

Council Tax band changes

Council want to inspect my property – Property118

House Renovation Cost in 2021