Housing, Health and Safety Rating System

What is the HHSRS and why is it needed?

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 homes.  The assessment method focuses on the hazards that are most likely to be present in homes. Tackling these hazards should make more homes healthier and safer to live in.

Who does it affect?

The HHSRS is relevant to all homeowners, private/social landlords and tenants.

Social landlords should do assessments as part of their stock condition surveys and then carry out any needed improvements. Tenants of social housing should always contact their social landlord if they are worried about the condition of their home.

Private landlords and managing agents are advised to assess their properties to see whether there are any serious hazards. They should then carry out improvements, over a reasonable period of time, to reduce the risks. Landlords and/or tenants may contact our Housing Standards Team and ask for advice if they are worried about the condition of their home.

Homeowners may also ask for advice from our Housing Standards Team if they are worried about the condition of their home. We may be able to advise the homeowner of some help to improve their home.

How does it work?

A HHSRS assessment looks at the likelihood of an accident due to the condition of the property and the likelihood of harm caused over the following 12 months. For example, how likely is a fire to break out, what will happen if one does?

The assessment will show whether any serious (category 1) hazards and other less serious (category 2) hazards exist. To make an assessment, we will make reference to the HHSRS Operating Guidance. During an inspection we may take notes manually or may use a programme on a hand held computer.

The Hazards

To be decent, homes should be free of any serious (category 1) hazards. There are 29 hazards which can be assessed for seriousness under the HHSRS.

(a) Physiological Requirements

  • Damp and mould growth
  • Excess cold
  • Excess heat
  • Asbestos (and MMF)
  • Biocides
  • Carbon monoxide and fuel combustion products
  • Lead
  • Radiation
  • Uncombusted fuel gas
  • Volatile Organic Compounds

(b) Protection Against Infection

  • Domestic hygiene, pests and refuse
  • Food safety
  • Personal hygiene, sanitation and drainage
  • Water supply for domestic purpose

(c) Protection Against Accidents

  • Falls associated with baths
  • Falling on level surfaces
  • Falling on stairs and steps
  • Falling between levels
  • Electrical hazards
  • Fire
  • Flames, hot surfaces
  • Collision and entrapment
  • Explosions
  • Position and operability of amenities
  • Structural collapse and failing elements

(d) Psychological Requirements

  • Crowding and space
  • Entry by intruders
  • Lighting
  • Noise

How is it enforced and what are the penalties?

If we find a category 1 hazard in a home, we have a duty to take the most appropriate action. We will always work with the owner/landlord to help them to reduce the hazard within a reasonable period of time. If this is not successful, we may take more formal enforcement action to make sure that the hazard is removed.

A property owner who feels that an assessment is wrong can discuss matters with us and can challenge an enforcement decision through the Residential Property Tribunal. Failure to comply with a statutory notice could, however, lead to a prosecution and/or fine in the Magistrates Court, or a Civil/Financial Penalty up to £30,000.

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