Housing Health and Safety Rating System Guidelines

The Housing Health and Safety System (HHSRS) forms part of the Housing Act 2004.

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The system looks at 29 different hazards and provides a framework for assessing and evaluating potential risk to health and safety. The assessment looks at the likelihood of the hazard occurring which will cause harm over a 12-month period and considers the vulnerable age group for each hazard.

There are 29 hazards to which assessments are made. Once a score has been determined, they are rated as “category 1” or “category 2” hazards.

If the score is a category 1, the Council will have a legal duty to take enforcement action and the landlord will be informed which remedial works are needed to reduce the particular hazard. Enforcement action options might include serving a hazard awareness notice, an improvement notice or a prohibition order, for example. A notice/order will only be removed if the hazard has been removed or has been significantly reduced and is no longer a category 1 hazard.

Damp and Mould

There are three main causes of damp and mould within properties. These are:

  • Penetrating Damp
  • Rising Damp
  • Condensation

Penetrating Damp

This occurs when there is a defect with the fabric of the building or services within it allowing water to enter the property. For example, a roof leak, disrepair to window and /or door frames or a leak from a water pipe within the property.

Penetrating damp can usually be identified by water staining, usually yellowy brown in colour, in a particular area where the water is entering the property. The location of this staining is generally an indication of the source of the leak/water penetration.

Rising Damp

Rising damp is caused by the breakdown, deterioration or bridging of the damp proof course of the building. Moisture then rises up the walls to a maximum height of 1.00 m.

As with penetrating damp, it can be identified by a tide mark which can be yellowy brown or can be white and textured. This texture is caused by salts from the ground and the plaster being drawn through the wall with water.


This is by far the most common cause of damp and mould within properties, particularly during the winter months.   As the weather gets colder and heating is turned on, windows are generally fully closed. The average family produces around 20 pints of moisture a day and in an un-vented property, this moisture will condense within the property.

This moisture can cause mould growth on walls and ceilings as well as on furniture and your possessions.