Housing standards and enforcement

Housing health and safety rating system

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is a risk-based evaluation tool to help local authorities identify and protect against potential risks and hazards to health and safety from any deficiencies identified in dwellings. It was introduced under the Housing Act 2004 and applies to all residential properties in England and Wales.

When inspecting a property we identify defects which contribute to any of 29 categories of hazard encountered in the domestic environment, including:

  • Excess cold
  • Damp and mould
  • Falls in and around the home
  • Fire and unsafe electrics

Each hazard is scored and the most serious hazards are classified as Category 1 hazards and less serious hazards are classified as Category 2 hazards. We must take enforcement action to address Category 1 hazards in residential premises and have discretionary powers to deal with Category 2 hazards. We make our enforcement decisions in accordance with our enforcement policies.

If action is necessary we may serve one (or more) of the following:

  • Improvement Notice
  • Prohibition Order
  • Suspended Improvement Notice
  • Suspended Prohibition Order
  • Emergency Remedial Action
  • Emergency Prohibition Order
  • Hazard Awareness Notice

The council will generally charge to cover our costs for serving notices. Ignoring notices or orders can lead to prosecution and other penalties. We can also carry out work in default and recover the costs.

If we have served an Improvement Notice or taken emergency action, Assured Shorthold tenants cannot be evicted for 6 months, as protection from retaliatory eviction.