Landlords - housing health and safety rating system

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) sets out how councils assess housing conditions.

It addresses all the key issues that affect health and safety and enables risks from hazards to health and safety in homes to be identified, removed or minimised.

We have a duty to keep the housing conditions in our area under review. We can inspect a property if we think a health or safety hazard exists. The HHSRS also gives us the power to use enforcement measures to deal with poor housing in the private sector.

The inspection process

We carry out a risk assessment and consider the effect of any hazards in the property. Hazards are rated according to how serious they are and the effect they are having, or could have, on any occupants or visitors to the property. 

The system deals with 29 hazards: 

Physiological requirements

  • Damp and mould growth
  • Excess cold
  • Excess heat
  • Asbestos (and man-made fibres)
  • Biocides
  • Carbon monoxide and fuel combustion products
  • Lead
  • Radiation
  • Uncombusted fuel gas
  • Volatile organic compounds

Psychological requirements 

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

Protection against infection

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

Protection against accidents 

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

The inspector judges:

  • whether there are any hazards
  • the likelihood of an occurrence and the range of possible outcomes for those hazard

If a hazard is judged to be serious, with a high score, it is a category one hazard. All other hazards are called category two hazards.

We have a duty under the Act to take action if we discover a category one hazard in a property, and power to take action to deal with a category two hazard.

First of all, we would approach the landlord informally. If they don't respond, we can serve an improvement notice, requiring that the hazard(s) be removed or minimised within a set time. In more serious cases, we can serve a prohibition order forbidding the use of all or part of a dwelling.

If there is an imminent risk of serious harm, we can serve an emergency notice to remove the hazard. We can enter the premises and take urgent action to deal with the hazard. We can also gain access to a building if the situation is serious enough. Even without using emergency powers, we can, with or without the agreement of the owner, carry out any works required in a notice and charge accordingly.