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My Norwich

What to expect when you move into a council home

Condition of the property

We will make sure that everything is safe and secure and that it meets a basic standard.

The condition of a property depends on its age and structure, as well as the condition it was left in by the previous tenant. 

All homes are part of a cyclical maintenance programme and should meet the Norwich Standard:

  • no kitchen is over 20 years old
  • no bathroom is over 30 years old
  • no boiler is over 15 years old

We will always: 

  • Change the locks and supply you with all of the new keys for the property.
  • Carry out any essential repairs. You are responsible for doing minor repairs, such as cracks in plaster and small holes. We will not replace items in good working order for cosmetic reasons. Find out more about repairs and improvement 
  • Test the electrics and make sure that all wiring, sockets and bulb holders are up to standard.
  • Test the gas pipe work. All gas appliances are serviced annually
  • However, we are not able to test appliances in the property when it is empty. Testing can only be done once you have arranged gas and electricity supplies. If problems are found when the appliance test is carried out, please let us know.
  • Clear the property of any rubbish left by the previous occupant. 
  • Check for damaged asbestos. It is possible for any property could contain undamaged asbestos so you should take care when decorating not to disturb materials that may contain asbestos. Find out about asbestos risks


To minimise the time you will wait for keys to your home, we will not decorate the property. You may be given a contribution towards decoration if we consider that the decoration is poor. We offer a decoration allowance of £25 per room or a paint pack for the number of rooms that require decoration.

Your responsibilities

Minimum standards

Doors will open and close correctly and keys will be provided. Only large holes will be repaired. You will be responsible for mending small holes.

All door locks will be changed. All keys that the council hold are given to you, we do not have spares.

All windows will open and close easily without snagging. You
will be able to open and close all window vents. All windows will be safe when
you move in but if they need to be re-glazed or repaired this may happen after you have moved in.

Bathroom: all items will be clean and in working order.

Kitchen units: there will be a sink unit, double base unit with a work surface over the top, and a double or two single wall units where possible. There will be space for a cooker but there may not be space for any other kitchen appliances. Units will be clean and in working order.

Washing machine points: where kitchens are in good condition but there is no space for a washing machine, without altering the units, we will not provide these. However, if a kitchen refurbishment is to be done when the property is empty, we will install washing machine points.

Electrical sockets: we will provide a minimum of two double sockets and one single low-level socket for the washing machine (where appropriate) in the kitchen. The position of the kitchen units will determine where the electrical sockets will
be placed.  All other main rooms will have a minimum of one double socket.

Wall tiles: there will be one row of ceramic tiles around the sink in the kitchen. There will be one row of ceramic tiles around the bath and basin in the bathroom.

Flooring: all floors will be safe. Where there are tiles (e.g. in bathroom or kitchen) they will all be complete but if some tiles have been replaced they may not always match.

Heating: we will ensure that fires, boilers, radiators and cylinders are in place and fitted securely and show no evidence of leaks.

Staircases: will be safe and complete.

Walls and ceilings: will be sound and intact. We will patch large holes. You will be responsible for patching small holes.

Lofts: will be cleared and insulated.

Gardens: will be clear of debris and derelict sheds will be removed.

Fencing: we will provide post and wire fencing as standard. If there is no fencing at the property, please report this so we can arrange for a fence to be put up.

Smoke alarms will be fitted in the property. You are responsible for maintaining, testing and cleaning them. If you are a sheltered housing tenant, where the smoke alarm system is hard wired, no maintenance is required.

Flats with sheds: where flats have sheds we can arrange clearance and/or a change of locks where necessary.

Alterations made by previous tenants

The previous tenant may have made alterations or improvements to the property. They may have added non-standard fittings, such as a coloured bathroom suite. We will usually replace all non-standard fittings unless they are in good condition and safe. However, when non-standard fittings need replacing we will do so with 
standard fittings.

Examples of how we may deal with alterations made by previous tenants

  • Fitted kitchens are left in place if they are in very good condition. We will maintain them but any defects will be replaced with standard fittings at the end of their life or if parts are not readily available to do the repairs.
  • Light fittings, including fluorescent lights, brass fittings, wall lights and any simple fitting, will be left if the wiring is properly installed and electrically safe. They will be replaced with standard fittings when they need replacing.
  • Electric showers will only be left in place and maintained if they are reasonably modern, properly installed and electrically safe.
  • Outside taps will be left if they are installed properly and in good condition. We will maintain them until they are no longer serviceable. If this is the case we will then decide whether to replace them or remove them. 
  • Conservatories in reasonable condition will be left. The council will not, however, repair or maintain conservatories or replace them at the end of their life. 

Find out more about alterations