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Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)

The Housing Act 2004 introduced a new system to assess the standard of accommodation. The new system replaces the existing ‘fitness standard’ which focused on the structure of the building and facilities provided.

The new system, the housing health and safety rating system (HHSRS), is aimed at people living in the home. The system has been developed to assess all dangers that may be present in the home which can affect the health, safety and well-being of the people living there and any visitors. The HHSRS reflects the significant impact that housing can have on occupiers, not only physically but also emotionally and socially. Housing can affect health, in many different ways from, excess cold, through increased risk of infection, asthma and other respiratory illnesses. The home can also be a dangerous place with injuries arising from falls, electrocution, fire and other accidents. The well-being impact ranges from depression to social exclusion and even reduced academic achievement.

When applying the HHSRS all hazards are identified and the resulting risk to an occupier’s health, safety and well-being effects are considered. In the assessment it is decided whether the most vulnerable person to the risk will suffer some form of harm (ranging from a severe cold to death) in the next year. A numerical score is produced for the hazard, whichreflects both the likelihood and seriousness of the outcome. The higher the score obtained through this assessment the more serious the riskto health, safety and wellbeing. If the score reach is above a set level (1000) Band C then the Council is required to take formal action. If the score is lower than this, the Council has discretion as to whether to take action.

The health and safety rating system

If you are thinking of renting out a property, there are 29 dangers which you must consider when deciding if it is suitable. These are:

  • damp and mould growth
  • excess cold (caused by poor insulation or heating systems that don’t work properly, for example)
  • excess heat (caused by poor ventilation or insulation, for example)
  • asbestos
  • biocides (chemicals used to treat timber and mould)
  • carbon monoxide and fumes caused by burning gas, oil and solid fuel (fuel combustion products)
  • lead (for example, in pipes or paintwork)
  • radiation (caused by poor ventilation or floors in poor condition, for example)
  • gas fumes which don’t burn (caused by faulty gas fires, for example)
  • volatile organic compounds (chemicals which produce fumes, for example, glues)
  • crowding and lack of space
  • how secure from intruders it is
  • lighting
  • noise
  • domestic hygiene, pests and refuse
  • food safety (including smooth, easy-to-clean surfaces and space for a fridge and freezer)
  • personal hygiene, sanitation and drainage (including hot and cold water and washing facilities)
  • water supply for domestic purpose (including access to clean water and good water pressure)
  • falls associated with baths (including a suitable non-slip surface in the bath)
  • falls on the level (including properly-constructed floors and paths)
  • falls associated with stairs and steps (including handrails)
  • falls between levels (for example, from windows and balconies)
  • electrical hazards
  • fire
  • hot surfaces and materials (for example, exposed hot pipes or a hot-water supply over 60°c)
  • collision and entrapment (for example, trapping fingers or doors opening onto people)
  • explosions (caused by faulty gas appliances, for example)
  • ergonomics (for example, bad positioning of cooking facilities or wall cupboards)
  • structural collapse and falling objects (including roof tiles, ceilings and staircases)

For more information go to – The effects of the Housing Act 2004 on this website .