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Alterations to a Home Policy Supplement

Last published 29 Apr 2014

Additional conditions apply to the following alteration types for Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) properties for safety, legislative or economic reasons.

Security shutters and security grilles

Shutters should suit the building and locality in which tenant lives. Install manual shutter controls ONLY (electrically-operated systems fail in a fire).

The installation of security shutters and grilles will only be approved if they:

  • are keyless and quick-releasing
  • meet Australian Standards
  • meet Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) Asset Standards.

Swimming pools

In-ground swimming pools are not permitted. Tenants are permitted to install and use portable and inflatable pools, spa pools or permanent above ground swimming pools. Pools cannot be installed in common areas or inside the property. Pools (existing and new) must comply with the Swimming Pools Act 1992.

Pool safety requirements apply to all pools (including spa pools) that are capable of being filled with water to a depth greater than 300mm and have a primary purpose of swimming, wading, paddling or any other human aquatic activity.

Before installing a pool, the tenant must apply to Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) and receive written permission to install the pool. The tenant agrees to do the following for portable and inflatable pools, spa pools, or permanent above ground swimming pools.

  • Install a pool safety fence and gate (child resistant barrier) as required by legislation. Spa pools require either a child resistant lockable lid or a pool safety fence and gate.
  • Install a resuscitation warning sign, as required by legislation.
  • Obtain development consent from council before installing a permanent above ground pool.
  • Obtain developmental consent guidance from council before installing a portable/inflatable pool that can hold more than 2000 litres of water and has a filtration system.
  • Register the pool (on the NSW Government Swimming Pool Register) and confirm that it meets all legal safety requirements and council regulations.
  • Obtain a Certificate of Compliance from council (when installing a permanent above ground swimming pool).
  • Provide evidence of registration and compliance to FACS.
  • Pay all costs associated with installing the pool including the cost of all fences, signs and drainage, registration and compliance certification, including any inspections.
  • Pay all ongoing maintenance costs.
  • Cover all costs proven to cause damages to existing property due to the installation during the life of the tenancy.
  • Ensure the overflow of any water is limited and does not damage the leased property or the properties of adjoining neighbours.
  • Cover all costs associated with removing the pool and all associated equipment and restoring the yard at the end of the tenancy.

If a tenant is relocated they will not be compensated for the costs of relocating the pool.

All responsibility for pool safety lies with the pool owner (ie the tenant). This includes responsibility for adequate supervision of young children around pools.

Internal painting

1. Major internal painting

Tenants will not be granted approval to undertake any painting where restoration or preparation of the walls is necessary. This includes:

  • surface preparation
  • sanding
  • applying undercoats.

2. Minor internal painting (decorative coat)

Requests for minor internal painting for decorative purposes will be considered when the property is not scheduled to have internal painting done on any planned program of work.

Tenants must comply with the following conditions.

  • Use 100% premium acrylic (water based) paint, or Alkyd base solvent-borne or Polyurethane paint which are in sealed containers branded with the manufacturers name, type of content and Australian Paint Approval Scheme approval number.
  • Ensure work meets current Australian Standards.
  • Use paint which has zero or low volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions.
  • Use pastel or neutral colours (dark colours such as black, brown, red and purple are not allowed).
  • Do not paint doors, ceiling and/or architraves.
  • Do not hang wallpaper or paint decorative friezes.
  • Follow the paint manufacturer’s guidelines for safe handling and disposal and take practical steps to guard other occupants against fumes associated with the paint and any other risks.
  • Take all necessary precautions to protect the floor covering.
  • Before painting, clean the affected walls with mild detergent in diluted water
  • Ensure any power outlets and switches are protected.

Note: Tenants should note that if the property is painted in the future as part of a planned program of works, the property will be painted using LAHC’s standard colours and their decorative colour will be painted over. In such a situation, the tenant will not be eligible for compensation.

If a property inspection finds that the decorative painting does not meet LAHC’s asset standards and/or the tenant has undertaken other painting works, tenant damage charges may apply.

Further information available in the Painting (Internal) Policy.

Rainwater tanks

Rainwater tanks will generally be approved only where the tank is not connected to the internal plumbing of the property. All work must be carried out by a licensed plumber and comply with council or water authority requirements.

Solar panels (Solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems)

Approval to install a solar PV system will be allowed under the following conditions.

  • The tenant agrees to sign and abide by the conditions set out in LAHC’s Solar PV System Agreement.
  • The system will be installed on a cottage, townhouse or villa that has its own dedicated roof space.
  • The roof is large enough to accommodate the installation and the panels do not touch or cover adjoining roof spaces of other tenancies.
  • There is no significant shading on the roof, for example from trees or other buildings.
  • The work is carried out by a licensed electrician. If the installed solar PV system is to be connected to the electricity distribution network, this work must be undertaken by a person accredited under the Level 2 Accredited Service Provider Scheme (ASP). Refer to the NSW Department of Trade and Investment website for a list of Level 2 ASPs.
  • The tenant agrees to pay all costs associated with the installation and ongoing maintenance of the system.
  • The tenant agrees to restore the property to its original condition if they choose to take the system with them when they move out.
  • The installer and system meet the current Australian guidelines and standards. Installers must hold a Clean Energy Council Solar PV accreditation. Refer to the Clean Energy Council and NSW Fair Trading for further information.

Additional conditions in the Alterations to a Home Policy and this Policy Supplement also apply.

In accordance with Clause 38 of the Residential Tenancy Agreement, the tenant will be entitled to all rights and interests in any certificate that may be issued under any renewable energy schemes for solar PV systems installed by the tenant with the approved written consent.

The tenant may claim renewable energy certificates or other rebates attached to the installation of solar PV systems through an Authority to Pay letter and is entitled to any benefits under these schemes, if their system is installed with written consent.

Trees, plants, shrubs and garden beds

Tenants must look after lawns and gardens included in the lease agreement. This includes:

  • mowing lawns, watering, weeding and mulching garden beds.
  • trimming trees and shrubs under 3 metres in height.
  • providing a tray/saucer for pot plants on balconies, verandas and paved areas to protect the surface from water damage.
  • clearing leaves from gutters under 3 metres high in single storey dwelling.
  • regularly trimming vegetation to allow light into windows and let air circulate around buildings.

The following conditions apply to planting trees and shrubs.

  • Do not plant any tree or shrub where the mature height is unknown.
  • Do not plant any tree or climber with invasive roots or stems, is a noxious weed or has toxic leaves or sap. Refer to list of prohibited trees and climbers.
  • Do not build garden beds above ground level against existing structures (e.g. buildings, walls, fences, roofs).
  • Do not remove existing vegetation.
  • Do not plant trees or shrubs in common areas of units and townhouse complexes unless approved for community gardens. In community gardens, tenants can plant vegetables, herbs and citrus/fruit trees (less than 3 metres in height).

Television antenna service: Free-to-air

The following conditions apply to common antenna systems in multi-unit apartment buildings managed by FACS  and not owned by LAHC.

1. Headlease

If a tenant lives in a headleased unit with a common antenna system or they receive financial assistance through the private rental subsidy assistance program, the body corporate or owner’s corporation is responsible for installation and maintenance.

Any concerns should be presented to FACS which will pass on those concerns to the private landlord or landlord’s agent.

2. Properties owned by Aboriginal  Office (AHO)

If a tenant lives in a property which is owned by the AHO and managed by FACS , the tenant is responsible for installing and maintaining a free to air television antenna.

Tenants must submit a request to FACS which will approach the Aboriginal Housing Office on their behalf.

3. Private Rental Tenants receiving a Private Rental Subsidy from FACS

If a tenant lives in a property with an individual antenna system and FACS provides some financial assistance via the private rental subsidy assistance program, any concerns by the tenant or issues relating to the television service or television antenna, should be presented directly to the private landlord or the landlord’s agent.

Pay Television: satellite dishes and antennas

The following conditions apply to pay television:

  • The tenant is responsible for arranging contracts and paying subscription costs for pay television.
  • Under no circumstances will LAHC sign or enter into individual pay television subscription contracts on behalf of a tenant.
  • Local council, body corporate or Heritage Council approvals may be required before pay television facilities can be installed. In most cases, the Pay TV service provider is responsible for these approvals.

Further information available in the Pay TV Satellite Dishes and Antennas Policy.

Asset Standards applicable to alterations

1. Kitchen cupboards

Use only high moisture resistant (HMR) materials in cupboard construction.

Standards for kitchen cupboards:

Bench tops

  • Minimum 32 mm thick HMR particleboard, laminated with high pressure decorative laminate for high resistance to surface wear, impact and scratching.

Doors and drawer fronts

  • Minimum 16 mm thick HMR particleboard or HMR medium density fibreboard (MDF), laminated with high pressure decorative laminate having medium resistance to surface wear, impact and scratching.
  • Provide a 2 mm PVC plastic edge strip to all doors and drawers.

Drawers

  • 13 mm thick (bottom 16 mm), of either HMR particleboard or medium-density HMR fibreboard (MDF), finished with white melamine.
  • Completely integrated drawer slide system, comprising a high-quality epoxy coated white steel self-closing feature runner 30-kg load capacity.

Carcass

  • Minimum 16 mm thick HMR particleboard with white melamine finishes to all internal surfaces, including edge of frame, carcass, backboard and shelves.

Kickboard

  • Minimum 16 mm thick HMR particleboard, with 2 mm black vinyl or high-pressure high-resistance laminate finish, including any edges.

Cupboard doors

  • Use concealed side wall-mounted hinges with 170° swing.

Kitchen assemblies

  • Must carry a compliance label to current Australian Standards.

2. Bathroom alterations

Due to the potential for leaks, work that could damage the waterproofing of the bathroom is NOT ALLOWED, such as retiling the floor or walls, relocating the bath or toilet, or installing a new shower. The following fittings, however, can be installed:

  • new washbasins
  • wall cupboards
  • towel rails, grab rails
  • toilet roll holders
  • shower screens.

3. New fixed appliances units, built-in heaters

You must confer with FACS, Council or Strata Body Corporate before installing an air-conditioning unit to ascertain compliance requirements.

Air-conditioning units and built-in heaters must be installed by licensed tradespeople to meet the equipment manufacturer’s instructions.

4. New carpet

Carpets are not to be glued to the floor (NO direct-stick).

Information for carpet suppliers or laying contractors:

Carpet type

  • 100% bulked continuous filament (bcf), solution dyed nylon.
  • Loop pile tufted carpet.
  • Level pile surface or with slight modulation.
  • One-tenth or one-eighth inch gauge.
  • 678 g/m2 (20 oz/yd2) total pile mass.
  • 5 mm maximum pile height.
  • “Actionbac”, woven polypropylene secondary backing.
  • Fire rating to BCA.
  • ACCS rating for Residential Extra Heavy Duty (Stairs).
  • ACCS registration number on back to a minimum of four times across the width at one-metre lengths.

Colour as approved by FACS.

5. Floor and wall tiles

Floor and wall tiles standards:

Ceramic floor tiles

  • Slip resistance (wet and dry) semi-glaze finish.
  • Maximum 200 x 200 mm tile.
  • Minimum 7 mm thick.

Ceramic wall tiles

  • Minimum 5.5 mm thick.
  • White porcelain biscuit and full glaze over face (unglazed edges to body tiles and glazed edges for edge tiles).

6. Pergolas and gazebos

The proposed pergola/gazebo must have LAHC and local council approval before work starts, and can only be built on land considered to be within the confines of the property leased by the tenant. The proposed structure should match the existing dwelling in materials and appearance, be structurally sound, freestanding and NOT be attached to any other structure.

7. Paving

All paving must be laid with falls to allow any moisture/water to run away from the dwelling. Paving levels must NEVER be formed higher than the adjoining dwelling’s damp-proof course (DPC) and brick weep-holes.

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