Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)

The housing health and safety rating system

April 2006 saw the introduction of the housing health and safety rating system (HHSRS) which has replaced the housing fitness standard. The system is the Government’s new approach to evaluate the potential risks to health and safety from any deficiencies identified in dwellings, using a risk assessment scoring system.

The Government has identified a range 29 hazards as listed below:

Physiological requirements

  • damp and mould growth
  • excess cold
  • excess heat
  • asbestos (and MMF)
  • biocides
  • carbon monoxide and fuel combustion products
  • lead
  • radiation
  • uncombusted fuel gas
  • volatile organic compounds

Psychological requirements

  • crowding and space
  • entry by intruders
  • lighting
  • noise
  • protection against infection
  • domestic hygiene, pests and refuse
  • food safety
  • personal hygiene, sanitation and drainage
  • water supply

Protection against accidents

  • falls associated with the bath etc
  • falling on level surfaces
  • falling on stairs
  • falling between levels
  • electrical hazards
  • fire
  • flames, hot surfaces etc
  • collision and entrapment
  • explosions
  • position and operability of amenities
  • structural collapse and falling elements

The system covers ALL tenures.

The underlying principle of the system is that any residential premises should provide a safe and healthy environment for any potential occupier or visitor.

How the HHSRS works

We assess the condition of the whole dwelling by carrying out a thorough risk assessment survey.

Following the assessment, the likelihood of something happening to harm the occupiers and the possible outcome of the occurrence are noted. The combination of these two factors produces a hazard score. Each hazard will be scored separately.

There are 10 hazard bands (depending on the score given), A to J, with J being the safest and A the most dangerous.

  • hazards falling into the bands A – C are category 1 hazards
  • hazards falling into the bands D – J are category 2 hazards

We have a duty to take action to deal with category 1 hazards. It has discretionary powers to take action to deal with category 2 hazards. 

The Department for Communities and Local Government has produced Guidance for Landlords and Property Related Professionals informing them of HHSRS assessments and providing information to help ensure properties do not contain category 1 hazards.

For more information regarding how HHSRS assessments are carried out, classes of harms and for more information about the hazards themselves, please see the Department for Communities and Local Government's Housing Health and Safety Rating System Operating Guidance.

Enforcement powers

When enforcement action is being considered, the current occupants of the dwelling will be taken into consideration. 

Enforcement options include:

hazard awareness notices advising the person on whom it is served that a hazard exists

improvement notices that give instructions to rectify any hazards or deficiencies. Failure to comply with the notice could incur a fine of up to £5,000.00

prohibition orders which prohibit use of the building or part of it

emergency remedial action and emergency prohibition, available where there is a category 1 hazard and an imminent risk to the occupier

demolition order, declare a clearance area

First tier tribunal - property chamber

The tribunal will deal with any appeals in respect of enforcement action. The tribunal will comprise of a lay person, a qualified surveyor and a legal person.

they can confirm, quash or vary any notice or order

appeals have to be made within 21 –28 days depending on the notice or order

no legal representation is necessary 

Any necessary prosecution under the notices will be dealt with through the magistrates court.

The first tier tribunal general enquiries telephone number is 01243 779394 and the address of the regional office in Chichester is:

First Tier Tribunal

Property Chamber

Ground Floor

Magistrates Court and Tribunal Centre

6 Market Avenue

Chichester

West Sussex

PO19 1YE