This policy relates to Part 3 Division 6 of the NSW Residential Tenancies Act 2010.



I. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to outline tenant responsibilities relating to alterations or additions to their property.

II. Definitions
  • Alterations are any change to the appearance, size or function of an existing fixture, fitting or structure.
  • Additions are any new fixture, fitting or structure added to a property.
III. Coverage

This policy applies to all tenants of Southern Cross Housing (SCH) owned or managed rental properties.

IV. Principles

All requests for alterations or additions must be in writing. Minor alterations to SCH social housing properties are permitted without obtaining written approval, provided that they do not disturb materials that may contain asbestos (refer to the SCH Asbestos Fact Sheet for further information).

Minor alterations include:

  • Installing curtain rods, removable blinds and curtains,
  • Installing up to four picture hooks per room,
  • Installing a child proof gate latch, window safety device, or child safety gate,
  • Installing cleats or cord guides to secure blind or curtain cords,
  • Securing furniture to a non-tiled wall for safety reasons,Installing a wireless removable outdoor security camera,
  • Applying shatter-resistant film to window or glass doors,
  • Inserting fly screens on windows,
  • Building a garden bed more than 1 metre away from existing buildings, which does not block the natural flow of surface water,
  • Laying or planting lawn, which does not block the natural flow of surface water,
  • Planting trees or shrubs that will grow no more than 3 metres in height when fully mature and are at least 1 metre from any existing structure or concrete.

All other alterations or additions must be requested in writing. Permission to install hand-held shower heads or lever-style taps to assist elderly or disabled occupants, or to install a phone or internet connection, will not be withheld provided that they are installed by a licenced tradesperson.

Installation of swimming pools or spas will only be considered in extraordinary circumstances to support a chronic health condition or disability.

Other alterations or additions to SCH social housing properties will be considered if:

  • changes are consistent with the character, classification and future use of the property,
  • changes will not result in ongoing additional maintenance costs for SCH,
  • changes will not unreasonably impact on neighbours,
  • work is carried out by licenced tradespersons where appropriate,
  • changes are compliant with relevant construction and social housing asset Standards,
  • the work meets conditions and standards set down by the relevant local council, and
  • the tenant accepts any conditions imposed by SCH.

Tenants must submit a detailed written request for any alteration or addition, including copies of any plans or drawings. Tenants must also provide licence and insurance details of all tradespersons undertaking the work. At the completion of work, tenants must provide copies of all compliance certificates issued. Tenants may be required to remove the alteration or addition when the tenancy is terminated and pay any costs to return the property to its original state , at the discretion of the Executive Manager, Property Services.

When modifications are recommended by an Occupational Therapist, SCH will approve the modifications, provided that the property is structurally able to accommodate the modification, the
modification is consistent with the Asset Standards and the modification is consistent with the future use of the property. SCH may also consider funding minor modifications, dependent on the
ability of the tenant to contribute to the cost of the modifications and any future maintenance liability created. Where appropriate, if a modification request cannot be approved, SCH may assist tenants to apply for a transfer via the social housing register to an alternative property which may better suit their needs.

V. Responsibilities

The Executive Manager of Property Services or their delegate is responsible for assessing requests for alterations and additions against the National Construction Code, and Land and Housing Corporation Asset Standards. The Executive Manager of Property Services is responsible for approval of alterations and additions, within the limit of their delegation of authority. The Chief Executive Officer is responsible for approval of all other alterations and additions that exceed the financial and operational delegation of the Executive Manager.

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