Major works vs minor works - when is permission needed?

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    Major works vs minor works - when is permission needed?

    Hi all! this is my first time here so I apologise if this is in the wrong place. I've searched for similar threads but haven't found anything.

    I am renting from a large housing association, and I have an assured affordable rent tenancy. I swapped here via mutual exchange two years ago.

    There are some changes i want to make in the property, but most urgently I would like to have my kitchen cupboard situation re-jigged so I can fit a dishwasher in. I have a disability that affects my executive function and it's very hard to keep up with the demands of housework as a lone parent without automating as much as I can (my robot hoover is fab but unfortunately he can't do the dishes!).

    In my welcome pack there's a vague list of what would be considered minor and major works, with the former not needing permission (things like updating the vinyl flooring and carpets, fitting blinds, changing door handles, painting/decorating etc) and the latter being more structural jobs like extensions and adding/removing walls that would require permission from the HA. However there is no further information on their website, they aren't accepting non-emergency calls currently due to the pandemic, and they take about a fortnight to respond to an email at least. I've tried contacting my property manager on several occasions regarding other things but she doesn't respond to emails (I've been waiting almost 8 months for a response about whether I can apply for a parking space on our road).

    I've googled around a bit but I can't seem to find any solid clear info on whether adapting this one kitchen cupboard would be considered major works. It may be that I would need the entire counter re-fitted, but I won't know until someone's come and had a look. Obviously if I'm looking at a whole new kitchen that would definitely be considered major and requiring permission, but I'm hoping that just taking out one of the boards and re-jigging things a little would be considered minor. I don't feel like it's adapting the structure of the home itself in the same way that fitting a new bathroom or putting a stud wall up would be, but i could be wrong.

    Obviously I'm not going to have any works undertaken without explicit permission (or assurance that I don't need it), and I will make sure I get this information from the horses mouth as soon as possible, but in the meantime I'd like to get some estimates for the work so I'm ready to rock and roll when the time comes. There's very clear information about improvements for their shared ownership folks on their website, they require very detailed permission forms regarding how long the work will take, how much it will cost the owner, who they're going to be hiring, etc etc etc so I want to have this information ready should I need to provide it for this, but I also don't want to waste a builders' time if this is something that's considered minor across the board.

    Any advice would be very well recieved, thank you!

    #2
    As I think you are already aware, the work you propose is borderline between minor and major. On balance I would be inclined to say it falls on the major side of the line.

    You haven't said if you have actually asked for permission. If you have not, I would be inclined to write and say something like: "I am just writing to let you know that I propose to carry out some minor work to the property involving [describe work]. The builder will be starting next month." If you do not hear by the end of May get on and do the work.

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      #3
      Thanks so much for this! I haven't asked permission yet, no. They aren't taking calls relating to anything other than emergency repairs and I can't find a working contact form on their website currently (they throw errors each time), but I will try calling them on Monday - hopefully they'll be opening up the phone lines again, and if not I'll email them something along these lines directly.

      I agree re being on the line. I would much rather assume it falls on the major side than the minor than risk getting in trouble with them for sure. It's just frustrating as it takes such an age to sort anything out with them, but hopefully i can get some clear information this week. If all else fails they have a customer service twitter account I can try.

      Can I ask, why did you suggest the end of may? Is a month a sort of standard legal time to wait for correspondence either way about this stuff? I just don't want to risk getting it in the neck from them by just going ahead without word.

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