Maintenance of public housing

Home improvements in public housing

If you want to make any alterations, additions or other improvements to your home or to engage a private contractor you will need approval from Housing SA. There may be some restrictions on the kind of work you can carry out. Some alterations need approval from your local council.

If you choose to engage a private contractor yourself to have maintenance or repairs completed, this will be done at your own cost. Housing SA cannot reimburse you or pay their bills on your behalf.

You will be responsible for organising and paying for all materials and work carried out, and ensuring that the work meets all necessary legal requirements.

If you or someone in your household needs modifications because of a medical condition, disability or age, these may be carried out by Housing SA free of charge.

You can report regular maintenance issues to Housing SA.

What you can or can't do to your home

Some requests that are made by the tenant but are not permitted by Housing SA for the following reasons:

  • building structure integrity
  • possible exposure to hazardous substances
  • contravene building codes.

What you can do

Some improvements you can make to your home include:

  • pergolas, sheds and carports
  • floor coverings and paving
  • additional power points and lights
  • curtain tracks and shelving
  • TV antennas and satellite dishes
  • roller shutters, security screens or blinds
  • air conditioners and ceiling fans
  • water beds are permitted under certain conditions
  • installing solar panels.

What you can't do

Work that's not permitted:

  • Antenna on asbestos or tiled roof
  • Bathroom modifications in a brick veneer home
  • Ceramic wall tiling
  • Chair lifts
  • Changeover gas or electric stoves
  • Enclosures to any carport/garage under the main roof or to carports/garages that reduces light or ventilation
  • Exhaust fans
  • External painting
  • Finishes to porches or verandas
  • Floor tiling to wet areas
  • Flow meters
  • Flueless gas heaters
  • Front fence extensions over 1.5m (with the exception of electric gates 1.8m)
  • Hot water unit all types including solar
  • Inground swimming pools
  • Insulation
  • Installation of gates or fences within medium density, cottage flat (CF) or walk up flat (WUF) sites
  • Internal painting
  • Internal wall alterations
  • Kitchen cupboard replacement
  • Major bathroom modifications
  • Raising the height of an existing fence or gate
  • Removal of smoke detectors
  • Roof mounted air conditioners on steel framed roof
  • Roof mounted rotating vents on metal clad and tiled roofs
  • Roof mounted rotating vents or air conditioners on asbestos roof
  • Satellite dish any multiple sites (eg: WUF, CF etc)
  • Side or screen fence extensions in length or height
  • Side wing gates are permitted under certain conditions
  • Skylights
  • Spa bath – internal
  • Styrene ceiling tiles
  • Tiling to bathrooms
  • Walk up flat foyer safety screen door
  • Walk up flat foyer security door
  • Wall mounted air conditioner in steel frame walls in other than in the provided a/c opening
  • Wallpaper

You're responsible for your own safety when working around the house. You can carry out some minor repairs yourself, but don't attempt a repair if:

  • it may be dangerous
  • you're not qualified to carry it out for instance electrical work.

Apply to do home repairs and improvements

1. Complete an application form

Complete an Application to undertake additions form (470.1 KB PDF).

2. Show location and dimensions

Include documents that show the location and dimensions of the improvement.

3. Lodge your application

Lodge all the documents and your completed application form with Housing SA.

What happens next

Housing SA may contact you to arrange a site inspection to make sure your property is suitable for the improvement. You could also be asked to get any necessary planning approvals - eg from your local council and return this to Housing SA.

Housing SA will send you a letter advising the outcome of your application. You must not start any work until you have received approval from Housing SA.

All work must be:

  • carried out within 90 days of Housing SA approving your application
  • completed by a qualified professional
  • done to a professional standard.

Installing solar panels at a public housing property

If you want to install solar panels at your home you will need to apply for approval from Housing SA. You will be responsible for:

  • buying the panels
  • organising and paying for installation by a qualified and licensed professional
  • paying for any connection costs
  • paying for any ongoing maintenance costs
  • organising and paying for any insurance on the panels
  • removing them and repairing any damage to the property when you move out.

Don't start to install the panels until you have received final approval from Housing SA in writing.

Things that may stop you getting approval to install solar panels:

  • you're on a probationary or short-term lease
  • you haven't had approval from your strata group or community corporation to install them if you live in a strata or community titled property
  • the roof structure can't support the panels
  • the roof cladding contains asbestos

How to apply

1. Complete an application form

Complete an application to undertake additions (470.1 KB PDF) form.

Lodge the form with Housing SA.

2. Attend the site inspection

You will be contacted to organise a suitable time for your property to be inspected. This will determine if your property is suitable for solar panels.

If your property has been found suitable, you will be sent a provisional approval letter and a solar panel deed.

3. Complete the solar panel deed

The solar panel deed sets out the terms and conditions under which the panels will be installed on the property. It is important that:

  • you and your contractor read the deed carefully
  • you contact Housing SA if you have any questions or if there is anything in the deed you don't understand
  • you don't begin any work until you have received written final approval from Housing SA.

The solar panel deed must be signed by:

  • you
  • the contractor who will be installing the panels
  • a witness - eg neighbour, family member.

Once this form has been completed and signed by all parties, lodge it with Housing SA.

4. Final approval

If your application has been successful, Housing SA will send you:

  • a final approval letter
  • a 'clean energy council installation and commissioning checklist'
  • a copy of your completed deed.

Once you have final approval you can have the solar panels installed. You will need to contact SA Power Networks to:

  • arrange for the panels to be connected
  • organise a meter change.

Once the panels are installed, get your contractor to complete the 'clean energy council installation and commissioning checklist' and lodge this along with a copy of the 'certificate of compliance' with Housing SA.

If you disagree with the outcome of your application you can appeal the decision.

When you move out

Housing SA may give you approval to leave any improvements you have made to the property if:

  • they are in good condition
  • they meet all legal requirements.

Contact Housing SA before the end of your tenancy to discuss whether you can leave improvements at the property.

You will have to remove the improvements if:

  • Housing SA didn't give you approval to leave them at the property
  • they are not in good condition
  • they don't meet legal requirements - eg they were installed incorrectly, they are unsafe.

You should remove the improvement, and repair any damage their removal has caused - eg filling holes left from shelving units.

If you don't do this, Housing SA can charge you for removing the improvements or repairing the damage.

Was this page useful?

Take a moment to tell us why. If you need a response, send an enquiry instead.

Page last updated 7 August 2018

Provided by:
South Australian Housing Authority
Last Updated:
Printed on:
Copyright statement:
SA.GOV.AU is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Licence. © Copyright 2019