Housing Health and Safety Rating System
Landlords who let residential accommodation are responsible for ensuring that it is maintained in good repair.
On 30 June 2006 the Housing Act 2004 came into force in Wales. It introduced the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), a new risk assessment tool used to assess potential risks to the health and safety of occupants in all privately rented properties.
The HHSRS is used to assess potential risks to the health and safety of occupants in all privately rented properties - ie both individual privately rented properties and houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). The HHSRS replaces the previous housing fitness standard contained in section 604 of the 1985 Housing Act.
The HHSRS identifies 29 potential hazards, and the effect that each of these hazards may have on the health and safety of the current or future occupants, or any visitors to a property. It applies to all residential properties irrespective of whether they are occupied by a homeowner or a tenant. On receipt of a complaint the council will have to undertake a survey of the property to identify any of the hazards found in the following categories:
|Damp / mould||Radiation||Noise||Fire|
|Excess heat / cold||Uncombusted fuel gas||Hygeine||Hot surfaces|
|Asbestos||Volatile organic compounds||Food safety||Entrapment|
|Biocide chemicals||Crowding and space||Water supply||Explosions|
The inspecting officer will calculate a rating score for each hazard based on the severity of each hazard, and its potential to cause injury to the occupiers. The assessment is based on the risk to the potential occupant who is most vulnerable. For example, stairs constitute a greater risk to the elderly, so they would be the most vulnerable group in this instance.
Following the inspection the council will be given various legal powers to deal with any hazards found depending on their severity. The council will be able to:
- serve an improvement notice requiring remedial work
- make a prohibition order, that closes the whole or part of a dwelling or restricts the number of permitted occupants
- take emergency action
- serve a hazard awareness notice (gives advice)
The new powers will enable the council to act in default and prosecute for lack of compliance. It will also enable us to charge and recover costs associated with enforcement action.
For further information and advice please contact the Housing Enforcement Team in Environmental Health. Housing Enforcement Team: (01248) 752836 / 752835