Council tenant and Leaseholder home alterations

Request for Landlords Permission prior to making alterations or improvements to your home

General information for Tenants/Leaseholder alterations

Before applying for Landlords Permission you must ensure that the persons employed to carry out the work are competent and qualified, and are able to complete the work to the design and standards agreed with the Council.

If you are residing in a Leasehold property but not the Leaseholder, you will not be permitted to make alterations to the property.  

  • Architects – the profession of Architect is a protected title, meaning only appropriately qualified persons can advertise themselves as Architects (​) . Their credentials can be checked by contacting the Royal Institute of British Architects if RIBA appears after their name.
  • Structural Engineers – persons advertising their services for the design of any Structural alterations should be checked by contacting the Institute of Structural Engineers ( if IStructE appears after their name. 
  • Building Surveyors – persons advertising their services for the design of any General building alterations should be checked by contacting the Chartered Institute of Building ( for CIOB or Association of Building Engineers ( for ABE after their name. Your approved Surveyor should be a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and will be able to assist you with this.  To source an approved Surveyor please visit
  • Gas Heating Systems – any work which involves the relocation, alteration, upgrading, or renewal of a gas heating system will require the person to possess appropriate GAS SAFE ( registration ID Card.
  • Electrical Installations – Electrical Installations – any work involving an addition, alteration, upgrade or renewal to the electrical installation must be undertaken by a qualified electrician who is a registered member of a Competent Person Scheme e.g. NICEIC, or equivalent. Visit for more details.
  • Replacement Windows and Doors – any work which involves the renewal of an External window or door, including combination frames, may require a Local Authority Building Control submission and installation by a registered FENSA ( company.  Leaseholders are required to pay a fee of £275.00 in advance if wishing to replace windows.
    All warranties and guarantees must be in the name of Harlow Council.

If you are a Leaseholder – Alterations that you may make to your home may result in an amendment to your lease by way of a Deed of Variation.  

  • Extensions, Conservatories, Internal Walls etc – work involving structural changes inside or outside the property, and/or to outbuildings may require a Party Wall Agreement between the Council and neighbouring properties, and a Build Over Agreement with your drainage utility supplier if a proposed structure crosses over existing drainage systems.  

Quotations from tradespersons accredited to the TrustMark standard ( could also be obtained as nationally recognised companies delivering competent and reputable services by Trading Standards and responsible consumer bodies.

Detailed Proposals

The information required to obtain an agreement from the Council for alterations improvements should include the following -

  1. Detailed plans showing the current layout including location of all services including gas, plumbing, and electrics etc.
  2. Detailed plans showing proposed alteration including any to plumbing and Electrics.
  3. All applications to include full details of the proposed construction showing any reconfiguration or alterations to associated services e.g. electrical, plumbing, gas supply, in addition to a method statement and specification for the works and materials to be used. Documentation should be supported by scaled drawings, diagrams, and layouts. 
  4. In line with Health and Safety requirement, if residing in a flat block or maisonette, designs for performance of windows and doors must meet current Fire Safety Standards and any ventilation required.
  5. Type of materials used in contraction of the alterations or improvements.
  6. Fixtures specifically required by the work; boiler, fuse board, etc.
  7. Fittings specifically required by the work; lights, smoke detectors, etc.      
  8. Finishes to new walls or ceilings; plaster, decoration, etc.
  9. Services, heating and electrical, with regard to notching and/or chases.
  10. Calculations of structural elements, drainage flows, insulation, etc.
  11. If your application is insufficient, all paperwork will be returned.


Drawings submitted should be of a commonly used paper size (A4, A3, etc) and be to a recognised scale (1:20, 1:50, or 1:100) so they can be reproduced without a loss of quality or design proportion.

On receipt of your application and supporting documentation, the Housing Officer will check that the details are sufficient to proceed. A visit to your home may be required by a Council Surveyor and any comments returned to the Housing Officer after which a decision on your proposals will be made.

Insurance to the value of £5million pounds for public liability and £2million for employers liability must be in place by the persons undertaking the work, who should demonstrate qualifications and accreditation to a recognised trade or professional body.

If you are granted Landlords Permission you will need to advise us when the work is completed so a post inspection can be done and the necessary Completion Certificate issued. 

If permission is refused, the applicant has a Right of Appeal.  Appeals will be reviewed by the Property Team Leader in line with the Appeals Process.

Important Please Note – Landlords Permission does not override any requirement to obtain statutory Planning, Covenant, or Building Control. You can find more information and guidance from Planning Portal by visiting their website at Details of the criteria for the different types of Approval can be obtained from Contact Harlow at the Civic Centre.

Secure tenants have the right to claim compensation for some alterations made, at the time of giving notice to terminate the tenancy. Please contact the Property Housing Officer for further details.

Application and accompanying correspondence should be sent for the attention of your Housing Officer to Harlow Council, Housing Management Service, Civic Centre, The Water Gardens, Harlow, Essex CM20 1WG