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What is the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)?

The HHSRS is a risk assessment tool to help local authorities identify hazards in residential properties. We have powers to ensure owners and landlords keep their properties to an acceptable standard.

What are the hazards and how are they evaluated?

There are 29 categories of hazard, which include:

  • damp and mould, excess cold/heat

  • pollutants ie asbestos, biocides, carbon monoxide, lead, radiation etc

  • overcrowding, lack of space, entry by intruders, lighting and noise

  • poor hygiene ie pests, food safety, drainage, water supply etc

  • accidents ie falls, electric shocks, burns, fires etc

  • collisions, entrapment, explosions etc.

Each hazard is assessed separately, based on the likelihood and probable severity of an event that could cause harm. The outcome of the assessment highlights whether there are any serious hazards (Category 1) or any less serious hazards (Category 2) within the property.

You can view further information on the 29 hazards in this document [PDF, 0.2MB].

How is it enforced?

For a Category 1 hazard, which is the most serious, we have a duty to take action to reduce the risk of harm to an acceptable level. This is usually done by contacting the landlord and suggesting how to reduce the risk. These suggestions can be negotiated to find a satisfactory outcome. If this does not resolve the issue, we will take more formal action.

When a Category 2 hazard is assessed, we may take action or simply advise the landlord of any remedial action needed to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the tenant.

Formal enforcement charges

If we have to take enforcement action then we make a charge of £44.49 per environmental health officer hour plus an administration charge, to cover the costs incurred.

The charge can include the costs involved in inspecting the property, drafting a notice and schedule of works and administrative functions related to the formal action. We will routinely make a charge to recover costs incurred in taking the following formal action:

  • serving an Improvement Notice

  • making a Prohibition Order

  • undertaking emergency remedial action.