Council housing tenants have the liberty to make certain minor changes to the property that they live in while most alterations require written permission of the council authorities. Through this blog post, we will be exploring how a council housing tenant can become eligible for a bathroom replacement. We will also discuss upgrades to bathrooms that can be made to bathrooms by tenants as well as the implications on various expenses of the tenants with such changes especially potentially rising council tax.
How To 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.
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 attain 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 fulfils Building Regulations.
Will The Council Fit Me A Shower?
While it is at the discretion of the council to fit a shower for tenants (nearly all council houses have baths fitted in the bathroom), in case a tenant faces old age or a disability, councils will have to provide a walk-in shower in the bathroom. If they are not able to do so, tenants can apply for a grant to have a shower fitted in their bathroom.
Once a tenant applies for a shower fitting in the bathroom, the council authorities will get a formal assessment conducted of the premises to assess the severity of need regarding a shower. This happens particularly in cases where extensive plumbing and restructuring work is needed to install a shower.
However, many council tenants tend to use a clip-on hand shower that is attached to the tap. This is not only a cost-effective option but also does not require the involvement of local authorities for approval and cost bearing.
Such expenses may be covered under the Minor Adaptation Grant and are estimated to cost less than or around £1,000. In such a case the entire cost is borne by the council authorities
However, when major adaptations such as wetrooms are required to be made to the structure of the premises, the council will not be able to cover the costs on their own and the applicant will need to apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant through them.
Residents in England can apply for a grant of up to £30,000.
How Can I Get Wet Room From Council?
In case you are a council housing resident, the cost of a wet room will be taken care of by the local council office. In case you are a private housing resident, the amount of financial support extended by council authorities will be based on the result of your means-test. Private homeowners may find it easier to get council help; while private tenants will also need to seek permission from their landlord and agree to certain terms of tenancy.
Once a resident applies for a wet room facility to their local council office, an occupational therapist visits their home to assess the premises and gather information regarding the applicant’s need for a wetroom, the reason(s) for the application, as well as to conduct an overview of their current living conditions.
In certain conditions, the assessment may reveal the need only for minor adaptations to the premises without the necessity of a wet room. These may include the following:
- Adapted chairs and beds
- Bath seats and shower stools
- Concrete steps or ramps
- Hand/Grab rails
- Raised toilet seats
- Security lights
- Thermostatically controlled mixers
After the assessment is complete and there is an agreement on the funding amount, council authorities will hire a contractor (generally through a process of raising a tender) to proceed with the work. Payments and the terms of engagement are managed directly through council authorities with the contractor.
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 Kind Of Changes To Property Affect My 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 I 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)
How Much Do Home Renovations Cost In The UK?
According to House Renovation Cost in 2021 it may cost you around £80,000 to renovate (with major changes) a three-bedroom house in the UK. However, depending on the nature of individual repairs and modifications required, the cost of minor changes may vary. Below is a quick guide:
- New heating system: £5,500
- New gas supply: £1,500
- Rewiring: £5,750
- Replastering of walls: £2,500 to £15,000
- New kitchen: £10,000 to £25,000
- New bathroom: £4,750
The best way to proceed is to prepare a list of changes that you would like to make and then arrange a survey of your premises to learn about the expected expenses. Here is a link to guide you How Much Are House Survey Costs in 2021?
Through this discussion, it has become apparent that a council housing tenant may not qualify for a bathroom replacement unless the previous bathroom was constructed or renovated more than 30 years ago. However, minor changes or upgrades are possible as long as the tenants have written approval from their local council.
FAQs: How To Get A New Bathroom From Council?
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.
What is a council wet room?
A council wet room is a glass-covered enclosed space in a bathroom that serves as a walk-in shower area.
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.
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.
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.