What is the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)?

What is the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)?

Some of you may have already may have already dealt with the local authority environmental health department with reference to the condition of a property as a result of tenants raising concerns over disrepair. The environmental health department use the HHSRS to inspect properties and use the operating guidance to decide on the necessary course of action depending on weather Category 1 or Category 2 hazards have been found.

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) has introduces a risk assessment system. This affects all owners, landlords, including social landlords. Public sector landlords should also incorporate HHSRS into their stock condition surveys. To be decent, homes should be free of category 1 hazards.

How does it work?

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, 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, local authority inspectors will make reference to the HHSRS ‘Operating Guidance’ and ‘Enforcement Guidance’. During an inspection they may take notes manually or may use a programme on a hand held computer.

How is it enforced and what are the penalties?

If a local authority discovers category 1 hazards in a home, it has a duty to take the most appropriate action. Local authorities are advised to try to deal with problems informally at first.

If this is unsuccessful, the council could serve notice on a landlord requiring them to carry out improvements to the property. For example, by installing central heating and insulation to deal with cold, fix a rail to steep stairs to deal with the risk of falls, or repair a leaking roof. Local authorities also have powers to prohibit the use of the whole or part of a dwelling or restrict the number of permitted occupants. Where hazards are modest they may serve a hazard-awareness notice to draw attention to a problem. Where an occupier is at immediate risk, the authority can take emergency remedial action.

If you feel that an assessment is wrong, you can discuss matters with the inspector and ultimately will be able to challenge an enforcement decision through the Residential Property Tribunal.

Failure to comply with a statutory notice could lead to a fine of up to £5,000 and/or the council carrying out work in default

Where can to get more information?

Communities and Local Government
Eland House
Bressenden Place



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