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Housing

Housing health and safety

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is the risk assessment procedure for residential properties. It replaced the Housing Fitness Regime on 6 April 2006 in England, and in Wales later that year. HHSRS also replaced the Fitness Standard as an element of the Decent Homes Standard.

How does the Housing Health and Safety Rating System affect me?

Private landlords

In practice, private landlords and managing agents will be most affected by HHSRS assessments. Local authorities will take a strategic approach to the use of their new powers. They will continue to respond to complaints from tenants, and they will also be able to assess properties subject to HMO licensing.

Public sector landlords

Public sector landlords also need to incorporate HHSRS into their stock condition surveys. To be decent, all homes in the social sector should be free of category 1 hazards. Information on HHSRS has been available since July 2000 and stock condition surveys should now include HHSRS. If a landlord is about to embark on a programme of work then housing managers should consider whether there are any category 1 hazards that need to be included in the refurbishment works. 

Tenants

Tenants should be aware of the new approach taken by local authorities to deal with bad conditions. Local Authorities still have discretion over the action they take but they are more likely to prioritise cases where there is some evidence of serious hazards.

Builders

Maintenance builders should be aware of the change in health and safety assessment and understand the basic principles of HHSRS. In properties with serious hazards, enforcement action will usually be against the owner, and builders would not be liable under HHSRS. However, there may be grounds for occupiers to take civil action under different legislation, such as the Building Act.

Surveyors

Surveyors should be aware of the replacement of the Fitness Standard by HHSRS and understand its basic principles. Valuation surveyors do not need to refer to HHSRS when carrying out homebuyer surveys.

Further information

Further guidance is available in the Publications about the Housing Health and Safety Rating System.

You can return to this page by using the quick link www.communities.gov.uk/hhsrs

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