Housing Health and Safety Rating System

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is a scoring system that is used by the council to assess the effect of certain hazards on the health, safety and wellbeing of the occupants. The system allows us to take action to remedy any hazards to ensure housing is safe to live in.

There are 29 hazards, which include:

  • damp and mould, excess cold/heat
  • pollutants such as
    • asbestos
    • biocides
    • carbon monoxide
    • lead
    • radiation
    • fuel gas
    • volatile organic carbons
  • overcrowding. lack of space, entry by intruders, lighting, noise
  • poor hygiene such as
    • pests
    • refuse
    • food safety
    • sanitation
    • drainage
    • water supply
  • accidents such as falls, electrical hazards, fire, hot surfaces
  • collisions, entrapments, explosions, structural collapse/failing

Assessment is carried out on the property

A full inspection of a property will be completed by the council using a risk based assessment to consider the effect of any hazards in the property. The hazards are rated according to how serious they are and the effect they are having, or could have, on the occupants. The rating will determine if there are any serious hazards (category 1) or less serious hazards (category 2).

The inspector will also assess any possible harm from the hazards. There are four harm outcomes:

  • Class 1 - Extreme (death from any cause, permanent loss of consciousness, regular severe pneumonia, 80% burn injuries)
  • Class 2 - Severe (cardio-respiratory disease, asthma, loss of a hand or foot, serious factures, severe burns)
  • Class 3 - Serious (chronic severe stress, mild heart attack, loss of finger, fractured skull and severe concussion)
  • Class 4 - Moderate (occasional severe discomfort, mild pneumonia, broken finger, severe bruising, regular serious coughs and colds)

Please see the document below for a detailed list of the 29 hazards and the four harm outcomes.

PDF document HHSRS Hazards and Harm Outcomes(PDF) [54 kb]

It must be remembered that all properties contain hazards and it is not possible to remove all of these. The emphasis is to minimise the risk to health and safety as far as possible either by removing the hazard completely or minimising the effect.

If you have a complaint about poor housing conditions, please send a message to the Housing Standards team.

How the system is enforced

We have a duty to take appropriate enforcement action if serious hazards are present. The hazard score does not dictate the action to be taken, but the council will focus their attention on the category 1 hazards and the more serious category 2 hazards.

The aim of intervention is to make the dwelling safer for occupation by the easing or removal of hazards. The course of action will depend on if and how hazards can be reduced or removed entirely and, if they cannot, what other action is necessary. In making this decision we will take account of the vulnerability of the current occupants.

The courses of action available to the council are to:

  • serve an Improvement Notice, requiring remedial action to remedy or mitigate a hazard within a set time period
  • make a Prohibition Order, prohibiting the use of the whole or part of a premises, for any purpose, except one approved by the council
  • serve a Hazard Awareness Notice, which advises the owner of the hazard concerned and the appropriate action to deal with it. It is purely advisory and there is no follow up action
  • make a Demolition Order
  • take emergency action where a category 1 hazard is so serious as to represent imminent risk of serious harm.

Grounds for appeal

An owner or agent who has an Improvement Notice or Prohibition Order served on them can appeal the notice to the Residential Property Tribunal, normally within 21 days. There is no restriction on the ground of appeal but the main grounds are likely to be that:

  • the deficiency referred to in the notice does not amount to a hazard
  • someone else is responsible for carrying our the work at the property
  • the works required in the notice are unreasonable and alternative works should be considered

If a notice is not complied with within the time allowed, the owner or agent may be prosecuted and the council may also undertake the required works in default and recover their expenses.

Contact details

Housing Standards Team

If you have an enquiry about housing standards, send a message to the Housing Standards team

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