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 your local council
  • organising and paying for:
    • all costs of the alteration, including materials, connection fees, or insurance
    • appropriately qualified and licensed tradespeople to carry out the work, if required
    • any maintenance or ongoing inspections the improvement may need in the future
  • removing the improvement 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.

Housing SA won’t approve work that would:

  • not safely be made at the property or cause health and safety issues
  • not meet necessary regulations or legal requirements like the building code
  • change the property’s design or structural integrity, such as removing an internal wall
  • significantly  alter a fixture or fitting, like installing a dishwasher
  • be permanent and have significant removal costs, like an inground swimming pool
  • affect a neighbouring property, like security cameras that record another property
  • be Housing SA’s responsibility to carry out, such as perimeter paving or external painting.

Solar panels won't be approved when:

  • the tenant is on a probationary, short term or fixed term lease agreement of less than 2 years
  • the property is a walk up flat.

What you'll need

What you need to provide depends on the type of work you plan to carry out.

The documents you may need to provide with your application can include:

  • approvals from your local council and strata or community corporation
  • quotes from contractors to install air conditioners
  • site plans showing the location and dimensions of the work if you plan to make external improvements like sheds, rainwater tanks or above ground swimming pools.

Who can carry out the work

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

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.

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

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.

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

You have 90 days from the date Housing SA approved your application to complete the work. Tell Housing SA when the work is complete.

Related information

On this site

Other websites

Was this page useful?

Thanks for contributing - your feedback helps us improve this website.

Page last updated 28 June 2022

Provided by:
SA Housing Authority
Last Updated:
Printed on:
Copyright statement:
SA.GOV.AU is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Licence. © Copyright 2023