Factsheet 7 Housing Standards

Factsheet 7
Housing Standards
The main legislation used when considering housing standards is the Housing Act 2004 which
introduced the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). The HHSRS replaced the
old fitness test and is based on assessment of the condition of the property and the risks it
poses to the occupant. Using the HHSRS a property which is in poor repair or does not meet
modern standards (for example has no fixed source of heating throughout the property) will be
deemed to have either category 1 or category 2 hazards. Depending on the condition of the
property, it could have a number of category 1 and / or 2 hazards.
The Council is only obliged to take action if a property has a category 1 hazard, as these
hazards pose a potential risk to the occupant. The first step in any action is to make the owner
of the property aware so that they can take action to repair/improve the property. If the property
is owner occupied the Council will generally not take any further action unless it is deemed that
it is not safe for the property to be occupied due to the nature of the category 1 hazard(s). In
tenanted properties, the tenant will be advised that their landlord will be contacted to arrange a
visit to the property so that the landlord can be advised of the problems and to seek
confirmation that they will be remedied.
In most cases, the Council will serve an Improvement Notice where it is possible for the owner
to undertake reasonable remedial works to reduce/remove the hazard. In other cases, where
the risk is not as high and formal action is not appropriate a Hazard Awareness notice can be
In some cases due to the level of risk associated with the poor condition of the property (i.e.
there is a significant risk to the health and safety of the occupant) the Council will be required to
• An Emergency Prohibition Order – this prevents the occupation of some or all of the
property with immediate effect.
• A Prohibition Order – this prevents the use of some or all of the property. The order
comes into effect 28 days after service, as long as the owner of the property does not
If appropriate the Council could also take Emergency Remedial Action and enter the property to
undertake the remedial works required to reduce the risk.
The main types of category 1 hazards in properties inspected are:
• Damp and Mould
• Excess Cold
These are generally caused by lack of heating and ventilation.
Contact: Simon Hawes, Environmental Health Officer, [email protected], ext