A Westmorland And Furness Council Project

Housing, Health And Safety Rating System (HHSRS) Guide

How The HHSRS Works

HHSRS lists 29 hazards that can be found in homes, ranging from excess cold, damp and mould growth, to structural collapse. As part of the assessment, an officer must look for and rate each one.

The assessment has two parts: considering the likelihood of a hazard, and then the potential harm that hazard can have.

The officer classes each hazard as either Category 1 or Category 2. A Category 1 hazard means there is a very real and immediate risk to health and safety, and the officer must act. Category 2 hazards are less serious, but these risks still require attention and repair. 

As part of managing your properties, it is your responsibility to ensure that hazards are not present, or, they are a very low risk according to HHSRS.

It is worth self-assessing your properties every year to ensure its state of repair is suitable for your tenants. It also means that repairs are less expensive when you catch them early.

You can use this guide to familiarise yourself with HHSRS, and carry out your own property checks so you know what inspectors will look for.

This page is designed as a brief guide to HHSRS, not as a full statement of housing law and should not be used as such.

The 29 HHSRS Hazards

The hazards listed include risks to physical health, mental and social wellbeing that any issues or disrepair may cause. As part of the assessment, all parts of the property are considered, including access paths, outbuildings, and any exterior space as well as the interior.

Addressing Hazards

The Housing Act 2004 requires the council to act where houses are in such disrepair that they pose significant risks to occupants and visitors.

When Category 1 and Category 2 hazards are found, there are a number of actions the council can take:  

Hazard Awareness Notices

Hazard Awareness Notices are usually one of the first actions taken for problems that require improvement or repair, depending on the severity of the hazards.

Improvement Notices

An improvement notice outlines what hazards must be addressed, and gives a certain time frame in which repair works must be carried out. If repairs are not made within the given period, this becomes an offence.

The council may choose to carry out these repairs and recover the cost to the landlord if the notice is not complied with. An improvement notice can be suspended until a time or the occurrence of an event.

Prohibition Orders

A prohibition order can forbid use of some or all of the dwelling for one or all purposes, depending on the severity and nature of the hazard(s).

Demolition Orders And Clearance Areas

Demolition orders and clearance areas are reserved for the most significant of health risks stemming from major disrepair of a property.

Emergency Remedial Action

Emergency remedial action is taken when hazards pose an imminent risk of serious harm. The council does not have to give notice to the owner of the property before taking steps to remove the immediate risk.

Emergency Prohibition Order

An emergency prohibition order forbids the use of parts or all of the property, but unlike a normal Prohibition Order, this is effective immediately and is put into place when there is an imminent risk of serious harm.

Lodging An Appeal

We encourage you to work with us and reach out when there is an issue.

However, you can appeal against certain action taken to the First Tier Tribunal (FTT), within the Property Chamber – Residential Property. Information on how to appeal will be included on the notice that you receive, if it is applicable.

Supplementary Regulations

Alongside HHSRS, there are other regulations that closely link to the hazard scoring system.

These include: 

  • The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022
  • Electrical Safety Standards In The Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020
  • The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 (MEES)
  • The Housing and Planning Act 2016

It’s a good idea to keep up with proposed legislation changes to see how they may affect your properties.

Contact The Team

If you have any questions about HHSRS, an inspection, or you would like some advice, please don’t hesitate to contact the team and we'd be happy to help

HHSRS Training

As part of the project, we will also offer some training on HHSRS. If this is something you would be interested in, please let us know using the link above