Can I change my home?

Maybe you’ve just moved into your home and you want to put your own stamp on things. Or maybe you’ve lived in your home for a few years and fancy a change. 

The Hightown property that you live in is your home. If you have an affordable or social rent tenancy, we're happy for you to decorate and do some minor DIY to make it your own. There are slightly different conditions for our Intermediate Rent tenants - go to information for intermediate renters

Anyone planning a bigger project will need to contact Hightown to ask for permission before you start. You can face penalties for criminal damage or put your tenancy at risk if you don’t ask permission before you make big changes.

You must contact Hightown before you:

  • Make structural changes, e.g. moving walls
  • Replace doors
  • Fit a new kitchen or bathroom
  • Fit a new aerial or satellite dish
  • Change fixtures or fittings
  • Build a conservatory
  • Fit a new shower
  • Adding patio doors
  • Or any other major changes that affect the structure of the property or change its external appearance.

Alterations leaflet

How do I apply for permission?

  1. Send in full details of what you are planning to do to your Estates Officer.

Apply Online


You can write to your Estates Officer at Hightown House, Maylands Avenue, Hemel Hempstead, HP2 4XH.

  1. You Estates Officer will write back to you to let you know about Hightown’s decision or to ask for more details.
  2. We may need to involve surveyors or solicitors, depending on what you are planning to do. You will need to cover these costs.
  3. After you’ve got permission, you can start the work but it must be done by a professional. This is for your safety and to protect your neighbours.

Please note: sometimes we will ask you to return the property to its original state when you leave. This is to make sure we offer all our tenants the same standard of home.

What happens if I don’t ask for permission?

If you don’t check with Hightown before making major changes, you:

  • Put your tenancy at risk.
  • Risk being charged with criminal damage.
  • Might be made to put the property back to its original state – at your own cost.

Recently, 2 families have risked prosecution because they made their homes dangerous to live in.


I rent through the Intermediate Rent scheme: can I decorate?

If you’re an Intermediate Renter, you can also give your home the personal touch. But it is worth bearing in mind that we may ask you to return the property to its original state when you leave.

This may mean that you have to:

  • Fill in holes, sand them down and repaint over them
  • Repaint over bright coloured walls. (The next tenant might not be a fan of red!)

The Intermediate Rent scheme is designed for people who are saving up for a deposit to buy a house of their own. This means that you are not allowed to make major changes to your property.

If you have any questions about decorating or changing your home, please log into MyHightown and contact your Estates Officer.