Alterations to a council leasehold property

Under the terms of the vast majority of 125 year leases, the Council is responsible for the repair and maintenance of the structure and exterior of the building.

Under these leases structural alterations and additions (including windows) are strictly prohibited. If you wish to make structural alterations to your property or purchase additional space within the building which is not currently leased to you, you must inform us so that we can decide whether or not to grant permission.

Permission, if granted, will be via the appropriate Licence for Structural Alterations (or 'Deed of Consent') or, in the case of additional space, by way of a surrender and re-grant of a lease. If you are proposing to build an extension or purchase additional space, this will also require a variation to the terms of your lease as your service charge contribution will increase proportionately to reflect the additional space.

Garden extensions 

Although you may have purchased the garden as part of your lease you will still need permission from our housing and regeneration department, as landlord, before undertaking any building works on the land. This should not be confused with planning permission, which may be required in addition to landlord consent. It is likely that a Deed of Variation and licence for alterations will be required. Speak to your estate manager in the first instance.

Purchasing loft space

If the council is the freeholder of the loft space, we may consider selling this to leaseholders in certain circumstances. Any disposal of the loft space would be linked directly to a licence to undertake works to the loft, i.e. to convert it into habitable space. You will need to speak to your estate manager for enquiries regarding the loft space.

View the purchasing loft space 

Permission to carry out works

If you are carrying out works to the internal part of your property e.g. works to kitchen units, or bathroom renewal you do not need permission from us (unless this work includes any ‘structural’ alterations, e.g. removal of a load bearing wall or works which impinge on communal services, e.g. communal drainage.) If your proposed alterations are non-structural it is still advisable to contact your estate manager in the first instance to confirm that no additional consents are required. Please note that windows are not part of the internal part of your property and are part of the structure.

If you are doing anything to the structure of the building you will need to first obtain landlord permission. The most common requests are for:

  • Window renewals
  • Removal of load bearing walls
  • Boiler replacement where flues are affected
  • Conversion of loft space
  • Extensions into the garden

How to make a request

You need to submit your request for permission for a structural alteration or addition in writing to the estate manager. You will also need to provide:

  • Scale drawings/plans
  • Measurements (including location of alterations)
  • Method statement
  • Full building specification
  • Valid FENSA or Certass Registration (in the case of replacement doors and windows)
  • Planning permission (or written confirmation from the Planning that no permission is required)
  • Building Control approval (or written evidence to confirm that no permission is required)
  • Full details of the contractor including name, address and contact details.
  • Health and safety policy of the contractor
  • Contractor’s valid Certificate of Public Liability insurance (£5m minimum).
  • Confirmation that you hold legal protection insurance (this would usually be part of a contents insurance policy), or landlord liability insurance with appropriate legal protection cover if you do not reside at the property.

We may ask you to provide further information.


You will be required to cover the our legal costs, currently £450. If your request requires payment of a sum in consideration, you will be further liable for our valuation costs, which are £1,000.

What happens next

Once all the information has been received, the information is passed to the Building Maintenance Inspector (BMI) in the area team. They will consider all the information and arrange for a site visit to be undertaken. This is usually arranged within 10 working days.

Following this visit, the BMI will make a recommendation which will take into account any future planned works. For example, in the case of a window replacement request, if there is a window renewal scheme programmed in the next 5 years under the capital programme it may mean that you are not given permission to carry out the requested works.

Depending on the BMI recommendation, we will then consult with neighbouring residents about the proposed alterations. Residents will normally be given 3 weeks to respond.

If permission is granted for the alteration the council may need to assess a sum to be paid by the leaseholder (known as a sum ‘in consideration’). Once terms are agreed for structural extensions or additions to the demise) , the information is forwarded to our Solicitor to process the relevant Legal documentation.

Once you have been granted permission

Our Solicitor will draw up the necessary Deed and complete all negotiations with your solicitor. Permission is only granted at the point the Deed is completed (this means signed/sealed and dated by both the leaseholder and the council and any mortgagee) and no works should be undertaken prior to completion of the relevant Deed and/or Licence.

You will be required to contact your area team once work has been completed to arrange a post inspection visit.

Works undertaken without permission

If structural alterations have been undertaken without our consent you must contact us to find out we are prepared to give retrospective permission.

You can contact your area team in the first instance.