Housing Health & Safety Rating System
The Housing Health & Safety Rating Scheme (HHSRS) 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. It affects all owners and landlords including social landlords. An HHSRS assessment can deal with 29 hazards summarised as follows:
• Dampness, excess cold/heat
• Pollutants e.g. asbestos, carbon monoxide, lead
• Lack of space, security or lighting, or excessive noise
• Poor hygiene, sanitation, water supply
• Accidents - falls, electric shocks, fires, burns, scalds
• Collisions, explosions, structural collapse
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. If a local authority discovers Category 1 hazards in a home, it has a duty to take the most appropriate action. If category 2 hazards are discovered it has the power to take action. The council will try to deal with problems informally first. However, if unsuccessful they can require landlords to carry out improvement works to the property. The council has the power where necessary to prohibit the use of the whole or part of a dwelling or restrict the number of permitted occupants. Where hazards are modest or of low risk they may serve a hazard awareness notice to draw attention to the problem.
If you are a tenant and your landlord does not carry out repairs when you have asked, please contact us on 01903 737755 and we may be able to help you. Please see our Disrepair & Damp page for more information.
Appealing enforcement notices
An owner or an agent who has an improvement notice or prohibition order served on him by the council can appeal the notice, normally within 21 days. Appeals are heard by a Residential Property Tribunal (RPT). RPTs have replaced the previous role of the County Court in hearing appeals against such action.
The Department of Communities and Local Government have produced this Guidance for Landlords and Property Related Professionals.pdf [pdf] 16MB
Renting out your home
LACORS have produced a simple guide which includes a 10 point checklist advising landlords how to avoid the pitfalls of private renting. It is particularly aimed at people affected by the current economic downturn who are unable to sell their home.