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Housing health and safety

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.

Download 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 hazards.

Tenants should be aware that we are 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, 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 Tribunal.

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