Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) and the

Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 (England)

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System is a structured risk assessment approach which assesses defects in a property and how they might affect the health and safety of both occupiers and visitors to the property.  The HHSRS considers how likely it is that a hazard would occur and how serious the outcome would be, and whether a hazard is significant and warrants intervention by a Local Authority.

If you are the landlord or tenant of a property and you think your property may contain hazards, we can carry out a full inspection of your property, no matter what the tenure is (i.e. Council property, private rented, registered social landlord [RSL]), identify any Category 1 or 2 hazards, and draft a detailed HHSRS report including a schedule of works necessary to eliminate those hazards identified.

Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 (England)

For tenancies that start or renew after 20 March 2019, and for all tenancies from 20 March 2020, the property must follow the guidance outlined by the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018.

This new law states that rented properties must be fit for human habitation at the beginning and throughout the tenancy. This mostly covers the hazards outlined by the HHSRS, but importantly it states that tenants can take their landlord to court, without the need to go to the local authority first, if any issues are unresolved.

Did you know that under this new legislation, tenants may be eligible for compensation, which could be as much as the equivalent of ONE YEARS RENT.

If you are a landlord and are applying to the courts for an eviction order you will need to provide evidence that the property is fit for habitation - we can inspect your property and provide a report to be used as evidence that the property is fit for human habitation and free of Category 1 and 2 hazards.

A rented home is 'unfit for habitation' when conditions or safety issues are so bad that it's not reasonable for them to live there. This could be because the poor conditions:

  • could seriously affect the tenants health

  • could put them at risk of physical harm or injury

  • means that they can't make full use of their home

Examples of things that could make a home unfit include:

Tips for landlords

Landlords should ensure their properties are fit for human habitation before a tenant moves in. To avoid issues we recommend the following:

  • Ensure no hazards exist within your property

  • If your tenant reports a hazard, ensure you reply quickly with your next steps

  • If you feel that the hazard is legitimate and requires repair, always ensure you give the tenant 24 hours’ notice if you, or a contractor, is visiting the property to make their repair. You must also get the tenant’s permission to enter the property at the time you suggest.

  • Make sure you arrange any visits during ‘reasonable’ hours (not too early, not too late).

  • If the tenant refuses access to the property, seek legal advice and keep all correspondence you have had with the tenant. If the tenant blocks your attempts at repair, you may avoid court.

  • Do not serve a Section 21 notice to the tenant if the local council gives you an Improvement Notice or Emergency Remedial Action Notice; this is illegal.

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System - a quick guide

Hazards in Bands A-C are classed as Category 1 Hazards requiring Mandatory action by Councils.  Hazards in Bands D to J are Category 2 Hazards, which allow Council’s to exercise discretion, when deciding what action to take.  The system applies to all dwellings, regardless of ownership.

 

The HHSRS assessment looks at whether a property has:

 

  • dampness, condensation, and mould growth;

  • rats, cockroaches and other vermin infestations;

  • broken glass, falling plaster, or dangerous or decaying stairs;

  • faulty or dangerous gas or electrical installations;

  • blocked drains or problems with rubbish or sewage;

  • unacceptable noise levels;

  • damaged asbestos; and

  • smoke fumes or gases

It covers problems in communal areas and outside spaces as well as inside the house.  HHSRS was introduced under the Housing Act 2004, Part 1, Chapter 1(1) and applies to residential properties in England and Wales.

 

The HHSRS assesses 29 categories of hazard.  Each hazard has a weighting which will help determine whether the property is rated as having Category 1 (serious) or Category 2 (other) hazards.  The 29 hazards are:

 

A. Physiological requirements

1. Damp and mould growth

2. Excess cold

3. Excess heat

4. Asbestos and MMF

5. Biocides

6. Carbon monoxide and fuel combustion products

7. Lead

8. Radiation

9. Uncombusted fuel gas

10. Volatile organic compounds

 

B. Physiological requirements

11. Crowding and space

12. Entry by intruders

13. Lighting

14. Noise

 

C. Protection against infection

15. Domestic hygiene, pests and refuse

16. Food safety

17. Personal hygiene, sanitation and drainage

18. Water supply

 

D. Protection against accidents

19. Falls associated with baths etc.

20. Falling on level surfaces etc.

21. Falling on stairs etc.

22. Falling between levels

23. Electrical hazards

24. Fire

25. Flames, hot surfaces etc.

26. Collision and entrapment

27. Explosions

28. Position and operability of amenities etc.

29. Structural collapse and falling elements

Copyright Danhaus Property Services 2017