Housing Health and Safety Rating System

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is a method of assessing housing conditions. It employs a risk assessment approach to enable risks from hazards to health and safety in dwellings to be minimised. The system applies to all dwellings, regardless of ownership.

The HHSRS addresses all the key issues that affect health and safety. It provides an analysis of just how hazardous a property is and includes evidence and statistical information to assist surveyors in making their judgements.

The key principle of the system is that a dwelling, including the structure and associated outbuildings and garden, yard and/or other amenity space, and means of access, should provide a safe and healthy environment for the occupants and any visitors.

The survey process considers the effect of any hazards in the property. Hazards are rated according to how serious they are and the effect they are having, or could have, on the occupants, ie ‘the effect of the defect’.

EHPs working in local authorities use the system to raise standards in the private sector by requiring owners to take action as necessary to remove or minimise hazards in their properties.

Guidance on the HHSRS

Guidance on the HHSRS has been produced by the Government as follows:

The CIEH has published guidance for private sector housing enforcement officers on the excess cold hazard.

Guidance on smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

From 1st October 2015 private sector landlords have been required by law to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their properties and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. a coal fire, wood burning stove). They must make sure the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy. The requirements are being enforced by local authorities who can impose a fine where a landlord fails to comply with a remedial notice.

Guidance on the legislation - The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 - has been produced by the Government:

Data on housing conditions

The main source of official data on housing conditions in England is the English Housing Survey.

Other data sources:

Information sources on the cost of poor housing

Housing Health Cost Calculator (HHCC)

The Housing Health Cost Calculator (HHCC) is a tool for calculating the health costs of hazards in homes, and the savings made where these have been mitigated or significantly reduced. It has been developed by BRE in partnership with RH Environmental. Details can be found on the BRE website.

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