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Housing health and safety
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.
Housing Health and Safety Rating System: A guide for landlords and
agents (pdf 83KB)
Who does HHSRS affect?
All owners and landlords, including social landlords.
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 surveys. To be decent, homes should be free of category 1
Tenants should be aware that we are more likely to
prioritise cases where there is some evidence of serious
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, our council inspectors will make
reference to the HHSRS Operating Guidance.
HHSRS enforcement and penalties
If we discover serious category 1 hazards in a home, we
will take the most appropriate action.
We will try and deal with problems informally at first. 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.
We can also prohibit the use of the whole or part of
a building or restrict the number of permitted occupants.
Where hazards are less serious, we may serve a hazard
awareness notice to draw attention to a problem.
A property owner who feels that an assessment is wrong can
discuss matters with our inspector and can, if necessary,
challenge an enforcement decision through the Residential Property