Home improvements in public housing

Tenants can apply to make their own improvements or alterations at their public housing property. Housing SA must give written approval for these before the tenant starts work.

How to apply

Use your Housing Connect account to make a tenant alteration application.

Don't have a Housing Connect account? Set up an account.

Other ways to apply

Your responsibilities

You will be responsible for:

  • getting all the necessary approvals before you start work, for example from Housing SA and from your local council
  • organising and paying for:
    • all costs of the alteration, including materials, connection fees, or for insurance
    • appropriately qualified and licensed tradespeople to carry out the work, if required
    • any maintenance or ongoing inspections the alteration may need in the future
  • removing the alteration when you move out or getting Housing SA’s approval to leave it at the property.

Housing SA won’t reimburse you or pay for any costs associated with the work, including paying tradespersons.

When you won't get approval

Housing SA won't approve an application from a tenant who is:

  • excluded from the property under the terms of an interim intervention order
  • on a holding lease agreement
  • on a probationary, short term or fixed term lease agreement of less than two years if the application is to install solar panels.

Housing SA won’t approve an application to install:

  • a flow meter
  • a residual current device, except if it is needed for solar panels.

Housing SA won’t approve work that would:

  • not safely be made at the property
  • cause health and safety issues, for example, the work would expose someone to a hazardous substance like asbestos
  • not meet necessary regulations or legal requirements such as the building code
  • change the property’s design, such as removing an internal wall
  • alter the building’s structural integrity
  • be permanent and have significant removal costs, like an inground swimming pool
  • affect a neighbouring property, such as a security camera that records a neighbour’s property
  • be Housing SA’s responsibility to carry out, for example, painting, perimeter paving around the property.

Major or structural alterations won’t be approved if Housing SA won’t be keeping the property and it's going to be sold in the future.

Housing SA won’t approve installing solar panels if the property is either:

  • a walk-up flat
  • or not suitable for solar panels.

What you'll need

You need to provide documents that show the location and dimensions of the alteration if it's:

  • an external structure like a carport, shed or pergola
  • paving, except if it’s around the dwelling or on the driveway
  • an above-ground swimming pool
  • security cameras
  • a rainwater tank.

Who can carry out the work

You can carry out minor work yourself provided it is safe for you to do so.

Solar panels must be installed by a Clean Energy Council accredited installer.

Plumbing, electrical and gas work must be completed by an appropriately qualified and licensed tradesperson.

Some building work may need to be completed by a qualified and licensed builder.

What happens next

Housing SA will assess your application. Someone may contact you to:

  • talk about your application
  • inspect your home and make sure the property is suitable for the alteration.

Housing SA will send you a letter telling you if your application has been approved or not.

You have 90 days from the date Housing SA approved your application to complete the work. Tell Housing SA when you have completed the work and provide any necessary documents.

If you are applying to install solar panels you will have to wait for both provisional approval and final approval before you start work.

Related information

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Page last updated 16 December 2021

Provided by:
SA Housing Authority
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