Housing Health and Safety Rating System

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It is your responsibility to make sure that your property is a safe and healthy place for your tenants to live. Properties are assessed using the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS).

Guidance for landlords and other property professionals can be found at http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/housing/pdf/150940.pdf

Housing Health and Safety Rating System

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is a risk assessment tool used to assess potential risks to the health and safety of occupants in residential properties in England and Wales. 

The legislation came into effect in England on 6 April 2006. HHSRS replaces the Housing Fitness Standard, which was set out in the Housing Act 1985.

Making homes healthier and safer

The assessment method focuses on the hazards that are most likely to be present in housing. Tackling these hazards will make more homes healthier and safer to live in. for example, the Fitness Standard did not deal with or dealt inadequately with cold and the risk of falls.

Who does HHSRS affect?

All owners and landlords, including social landlords. 

In general the private sector contains some of the worst housing conditions and owners and landlords should be aware that any future inspections of their property will be made using HHSRS. 

Private landlords and managing agents are advised to assess their property to determine whether there are serious hazards that may cause a health or safety risk to tenants. They should then carry out improvements to reduce the risks. 

Public sector landlords also need to incorporate HHSRS into their stock condition surveys. To be decent, homes should be free of category 1 hazards. Landlords should incorporate HHSRS into their next planned stock condition survey and deal with category 1 hazards during planned refurbishment. 

Tenants should be aware of the approach that will be taken by the council to deal with poor housing conditions. It still has discretion over the action it takes but it is more likely to prioritise cases where there is some evidence of serious hazards.

How a risk assessment works

A risk assessment looks at the likelihood of an incident arising from the condition of the property and the likely harmful outcome. For example, how likely is a fire to break out and what will happen if one does?

The assessment will show the presence of any serious (category 1) hazards and other less serious (category 2) hazards.

To make an assessment, officers will make reference to the HHSRS Operating Guidance

HHSRS enforcement and penalties

If the council discovers serious category 1 hazards in a home, it has a duty to take the most appropriate action. 

The council will try and deal with problems informally at first. If this is unsuccessful, it could require a landlord to carry out improvements to the property; for example, by installing central heating and insulation to deal with cold, fixing a rail to steep stairs to deal with the risk of falls, or mending a leaking roof. 

The council can also prohibit the use of the whole or part of a dwelling or restrict the number of permitted occupants. Where hazards are less serious, it may serve a hazard awareness notice to draw attention to a problem. Where an occupier is at immediate risk, the council can take emergency remedial action. 

A property owner who feels that an assessment is wrong can discuss matters with the inspector and ultimately will be able to challenge an enforcement decision through the Residential Property Tribunal.

Date of last review: 02 June 2014