Repairs & Improvements

Housing Health and Safety Rating System

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is a risk assessment tool used to assess potential risks to the health and safety of occupants in residential properties in England and Wales. The assessment method focuses on the hazards that are most likely to be present in housing. It affects all owners and landlords, including social landlords where the private sector contains some of the worst housing conditions.

HHSRS works by carrying out risk assessments that look at the likelihood of an incident arising from the condition of the property and the likely harmful outcome. For example, how likely is a fire to break out and what could potentially happen if one does?

The assessment identifies the presence of any serious (Category 1) hazards and other less serious (Category 2) hazards. To make an assessment, local authority inspectors make reference to the HHSRS "Operating Guidance (Version 2)".

If an inspection discovers a Category 1 hazard the local authority has a duty under the Act to ensure that it is either removed or reduced to an acceptable level. If a category 2 hazard is identified the local authority has the power to deal with it. Unless there is an imminent and significant risk the local authorities will try to deal with problems as informally as possible to start with. This will usually take the form of a properly constructed letter that identifies the deficiencies giving rise to the hazards, the remedial action required to mitigate the risk from those hazards and the time frames involved. (This constitutes something called a hazard awareness notice).

If this is unsuccessful, they could require a landlord or owner to carry out improvements to the property. For example by installing central heating and insulation to deal with excess cold, fix a rail to steep stairs to deal with the risk of falls, or mend a leaking roof causing damp and mould growth. Local authorities also have powers to prohibit the use of the whole or part of a dwelling or restrict the number of permitted occupants. Where hazards are modest they will try to work with the owner to draw attention to a problem but where it is considered there is an immediate risk, the authority may take emergency action.

A property owner who feels that an assessment is wrong can discuss matters with the inspector and ultimately will be able to challenge an enforcement decision through a Residential Property Tribunal.

Failure to comply with a statutory notice could lead to a fine of up to £5,000 and/or the local authority could carry out works in default and re-charge the person responsible or both.

Flexible Home Loans

Grants are available to homeowners and private tenants in receipt of certain qualifying benefits to provide warmer and more energy efficient homes.

Home Improvements
Dealing with builders and architects can become a very daunting process. The Council's Home Improvement Agency can take much of the worry and strain away from you

Modifying your Home

Repairing and Improving your Home

Making your Home Safe and Efficient