Alterations to a Home Policy Supplement
Last published 04 May 2021
The following alterations to Land and Housing Corporation properties, due to safety, legislative or economic factors, have additional approval requirements.
This policy applies to properties owned by NSW Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) or the Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO) with tenancies managed by Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ). This policy does not apply to head leased properties.
Security shutters and security grilles
Shutters should blend in with the building and surrounding locale. Only manual shutters may be installed because electrically-operated systems can fail in fire incidences.
Accordingly security shutters and grilles will only be approved if they:
- are keyless and capable of quick-release from the inside
- meet Australian Standards
In-ground swimming pools may not be installed however LAHC will consider the installation of external portable and inflatable pools, spa pools or permanent above ground swimming pools but not in common or internal areas. Pools (existing and new) must comply with the Swimming Pools Act 1992.
Pool safety requirements apply to all pools (including spa pools) with a depth capacity of more than 300mm, with a primary purpose of swimming, wading, paddling or any other human aquatic activity.
Tenants must apply to and receive written permission from DCJ before installing one of the approved pool types and must agree to the following conditions:
- Installation of a pool safety fence and gate (child resistant barrier) as required by legislation. Please note, spa pools require either a child resistant lockable lid or a pool safety fence and gate
- Installation of a resuscitation warning sign, as required by legislation
- Prior development consent from council for a permanent above ground pool
- Prior developmental consent guidance from council before installing 2000 litre capacity portable/inflatable pools with filtration systems
- Registration of the pool (on the NSW Government Swimming Pool Register) confirming compliance with legal safety requirements and council regulations
- After installation of a permanent above ground swimming pool, obtain a Certificate of Compliance from council
- Provide evidence of registration and compliance to DCJ
- Pay all costs associated with the pool’s installation including fencing, signage, drainage, registration, and inspection and compliance certification.
- Pay all ongoing maintenance costs
- Cover any damage costs to property caused by the pool installation during the life of the tenancy
- Ensure the overflow of any water is limited
- Cover all costs associated with removing the pool and all associated equipment and restoration of 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 (i.e. the tenant). This includes responsibility for adequate supervision of young children around pools.
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
- undercoat application
2. Minor internal painting (decorative coat)
Requests for minor internal painting for decorative purposes will be considered where a property is not scheduled for internal painting under a maintenance and upgrade program. Tenants must comply with the following conditions:
- Use 100% premium acrylic (water based) paint, 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 permitted)
- Do not paint doors, ceilings 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 floor coverings
- 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 programmed maintenance and upgrade work, the property will be painted using LAHC’s standard colours and decorative work 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 standards and/or the tenant has undertaken other painting works, tenant damage charges may apply.
Further information is available from the Painting (Internal) Policy.
Rainwater tanks will generally be approved only where the tank is not connected to internal plumbing. 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
- 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
- The tenant needs to arrange for the installation of a new smart/digital meter with their electricity retailer
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 their dwelling’s lawns and gardens as part of 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 dwellings
- 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 or will be more than 3 metres in height
- 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 with tenancies managed by DCJ and the property is not owned by LAHC.
1. Head leases
If a tenant lives in a head leased 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 the installation and maintenance.
Any concerns should be presented to DCJ who will contact the private landlord or agent.
2. Properties owned by Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO)
If a tenant lives in an AHO property managed by DCJ, the tenant is responsible for installing and maintaining a free to air television antenna.
Tenants must submit a request to DCJ which will approach the Aboriginal Housing Office on their behalf.
3. Private Rental Tenants receiving a Private Rental Subsidy from DCJ
If a tenant lives in a property with an individual antenna system and DCJ 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
- Under no circumstances will LAHC sign or enter into individual pay television subscription contracts for tenants
- Local council, body corporate or Heritage NSW 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.
Standards applicable to alterations
Alterations should meet performance requirements of selected components outlined in the LAHC Component Requirements.
1. Kitchen cupboards
Use only high moisture resistant (HMR) materials in cupboard construction.
Standards for kitchen cupboards:
- Minimum 32 mm thick HMR particleboard, laminated with high pressure decorative laminate, having characteristics of 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
- 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
- Minimum 16 mm thick HMR particleboard with white melamine finishes to all internal surfaces, including edge of frame, carcass, backboard and shelves
- Minimum 16 mm thick HMR particleboard, with 2 mm black vinyl or high-pressure high-resistance laminate finish, including any edges
- Use concealed side wall-mounted hinges with 170° swing
- 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 PERMITTED, 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 DCJ, 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.
Due to the safety risks associated with solid fuel wood fire heaters, LAHC will not permit the installation of any new solid fuel wood space heaters.
4. New carpet
Carpets are not to be glued to the floor (NO direct-stick).
Information for carpet suppliers or laying contractors:
- 100% bulked continuous filament (bcf), solution dyed nylon or nylon/wool blend (50% nylon)
- Loop pile tufted carpet
- Level pile surface or with slight modulation
- 31.5 tufts/10cm (1/8) gauge
- Minimum 678 g/m2 (20 oz/yd2) total pile mass
- 5 mm maximum pile height
- “Actionbac” or Jute backing or minimum 80% recycled stitch bond non woven polyester
- Fire rating to NCC for all building types
- A.C.C.S rating for Residential Extra Heavy Duty (Stairs)
- A.C.C.S registration number to appear on back at regular intervals
Colour as approved by LAHC.
5. Floor and wall tiles
Floor and wall tiles standards:
Ceramic floor tiles
- Slip resistance to current Australian Standard AS4586
- Minimum 7 mm thick
- Vitrified or porcelain
- Extruded PVC or Aluminium tile trims on exposed edges
Ceramic wall tiles
- Minimum 5.5 mm thick
- Vitrified or porcelain
- Ceramic biscuit (Bisque) must be engobed
- Extruded PVC or Aluminium tile trims on exposed edges
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.
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.