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Making changes to your home

You may want to make changes to your home for various reasons. Whether you need to make an adaption as your needs change, or you'd like to make some alterations or home improvements, you'll need to get in touch with us to discuss your changes and get our permission. We also offer a handyperson scheme as well as useful tips on DIY.

  • Alterations

    If you want to make any alterations or improvements to your home, you will need to write to us for permission first.


    What type of alterations will you approve?

    Plymouth Community Homes has an Alterations to Homes Policy on our Publications page. Your request will be reviewed by following this process, for which there are lists of alterations that are permitted (Appendix A), and those that are not (Appendix B).

    If approved, and within conditions:

    • All works undertaken will be entirely at your own expense
    • Maintenance of proposed works will be your responsibility
    • The permissions will expire after 12 weeks, and you'll need to reapply if not completed within this time
    • Once approved works will be inspected after the 12 week timescale. Any omission, errors, or defects found must be rectified at your own expense.


    How can I make an alteration request?

    This can be done through our online portal MyPCH, by completing the Alterations Request Form on our website or by letter.


    What information do I need to supply?

    You’ll need to provide information about what you’re planning, with plans where necessary. Photographs of the room or location will also help us when reviewing the request.

    In some circumstances a repairs supervisor will visit you to discuss your request. You will also need to comply with any planning and building regulations.

    We will consider whether the proposed work will:

    • Result in any additional future maintenance costs
    • Result in claims against PCH from third parties
    • Spoil the appearance of the property, or be in keeping with the appearance of the property and neighbourhood
    • Would require significant work before the property can be re-let in the future
    • Be carried out to an acceptable standard by a competent and qualified tradesperson
    • Require any relevant certification, i.e. electric or gas
    • Require any removal of asbestos under licence or require a comprehensive asbestos survey of your property, before the work begins.


    How will consent be given?

    Our consent will be given in writing and may specify certain requirements and restrictions. All works undertaken will be entirely at your own expense and maintenance of proposed works will be your responsibility. 

    The permissions will expire after 12 weeks and you'll need to reapply if the works haven't been completed by then. Once approved, works will be inspected after the 12 week timescale. 

    Request an Alteration

  • Adaptions

    As your needs change, you may find that your home needs to have adjustments made to help you remain independent for longer. Whether it’s due to a disability, long-term illness or getting older, you may be able to receive equipment or adaptations to help.

    For very minor adaptations, you can access our on-demand service without an assessment from an Occupational Therapist. Minor adaptations include handrails, grab rails, bath seats and shower boards. You can contact Millbrook Healthcare directly on 0845 223 2454 to place an order and they will deliver the items within four weeks of the request being made. View the On Demand Full Product List.

    We may be able to adapt properties to meet your needs if the property is suitable for adaptation allowing you to remain in your home. Please refer to our Adaptations Policy for full details.

    Adaptations can include:

    • A level access shower unit
    • A stair lift
    • Grab rails
    • External handrails
    • Bath and shower seats

    Residents who need these more in-depth property adaptations must contact Plymouth City Council (PCC) who work with partner organisations to help you continue to live independently in your own home.

    PCC will either work with Livewell Southwest for adult needs or make a referral to Gateway, who will carry out an assessment with an Occupational Therapist.

    To find out if you could benefit from any adaptations to your home you can contact Livewell Southwest on 01752 668000 or Gateway on 01752 668000.

    The assessment and most of the more minor alterations are free; however you may need to contribute to the cost of some major adaptations, dependent on your household income. If you need help with funding these adaptations you may be eligible for a Disabled Facilities Grant. PCC and LiveWell will assist you with this process.

    Moving to a More Suitable Home

    Adapting your current home might not always be the best solution. There may be other homes already adapted or properties purpose built for people with disabilities that would suit your needs better.

    If you do decide that moving is the right choice for you, your Housing Officer will discuss all the options available to you.

  • Handyperson schemes

    We run a handyperson scheme where for a fee you can have a tradesperson to assemble flat packed furniture, help move furniture around your home or adjust a sticking door. Electrical handy people are also available for small jobs, such as appliance testing, installing a new ceiling light or upgrading light switches.

    For more information or to book an appointment contact us.

    As your landlord, we’re keen to involve you in the repairs service and empower you to undertake repairs and maintenance within your home. If this interests you, please contact us via MyPCH, on our website or by calling us on 0808 230 6500.

    We will be able to advise you of any training opportunities that are currently available and talk through any ideas you have about resident involvement in our repairs service.

  • Home improvements advice


    To maintain windows and ease of opening you should clean aluminium and PVCu window frames with a soft cloth, using a mild soap solution, followed by a cold water rinse. Don’t paint the frames or fix anything to them with glue, screws or nails and don’t drill holes through them for cables.

    Many plastic windows are fitted with friction hinges that are designed to keep the window open in the chosen position and these should be oiled with a light engineering oil (not solvent) every six months to keep them working well.

    DIY and asbestos

    Before you start any DIY work or begin decorating your home please be mindful of disturbing asbestos and the affect it could have on your health. Always avoid drilling, sanding or disturbing any asbestos materials. If you’re unsure or need advice, you should obtain a copy of the asbestos survey for your home from our Asbestos Team.

    Drilling into walls

    Wires and pipes in your home may be hidden in the wall. If you need to fix something to the wall, you should always use a pipe or cable detector device to scan for cables, pipes and wires.

    Installation by utility companies

    Before you apply for any installation by any of the utility companies, you will need to obtain permission in writing from PCH. We will advise you on any possible restrictions that the company must adhere to during installation.