Bridgend County Borough Council,Civic Offices, Angel Street, Bridgend, CF31 4WB

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Housing Health and Safety Rating System

The Housing Act 2004 introduced a new way to assess health and safety within residential properties. Properties are now inspected and assessed using the Housing Health & Safety Rating System. The system is used to identify any hazards within a home and assess if those hazards pose a risk to the health and safety of any occupiers. Where significant hazards are present the Department will usually require the landlord of rented properties to complete repairs to reduce those hazards to an acceptable level.

HHSRS: The system of assessment

The purpose of the HHSRS assessment is not to set a standard but to generate objective information in order to determine and inform enforcement decisions. The guidance on inspections and assessments (the Operating Guidance) is largely the guidance contained in version 2, with some cosmetic changes.

HHSRS assesses twenty nine categories of housing hazard, including factors which were not covered or covered inadequately by the housing fitness standard. It provides a rating for each hazard. It does not provide a single rating for the dwelling as a whole or, in the case of multiply occupied dwellings, for the building as a whole. A hazard rating is expressed through a numerical score which falls within a band. There are 10 bands. Scores in Bands A to C are Category 1 hazards. Scores in Bands D to J are Category 2 hazards.

The hazards that can be assessed are those associated with or arising from:

Physiological Requirements


Protection Against Accidents


Damp and mould growth


Falls associated with baths

Excess cold


Falling on level surfaces

Excess heat


Falling on etc

Asbestos (and MMF)


Falling between levels



Electrical hazards

Carbon monoxide & fuel combustion products





Flames, hot surfaces



Collision and entrapment

Uncombusted fuel gas



Volatile Organic Compounds


Position and operability of amenities


Structural collapse and failing elements


Psychological Requirements


Protection Against Infection


Crowding and space


Domestic hygiene, pests and refuse

Entry by intruders


Food safety



Personal hygiene, sanitation & drainage



Water supply for domestic purpose


The HHSRS assessment is based on the risk to the potential occupant who is most vulnerable to that hazard. For example, stairs constitute a greater risk to the elderly, so for assessing hazards relating to stairs they are considered the most vulnerable. The very young as well as the elderly are susceptible to low temperatures. A dwelling that is safe for those most vulnerable to a hazard is safe for all.

HHSRS: Enforcement

Action by authorities will be based on a three-stage consideration:

  • The hazard rating determined under an HHSRS assessment;
  • Whether the authority has a duty or power to act, determined by the presence of a hazard above or below a threshold prescribed by Regulations (Category 1 and Category 2 hazards); and
  • The authority's judgement as to the most appropriate course of action to deal with the hazard.

The Act contains new enforcement options which are available to local authorities. The choice of the appropriate course of action is for the authority to decide, having regard to the statutory enforcement guidance.

The courses of action available to authorities where they have either a duty or a power to act are to:

  • serve an improvement notice requiring remedial works;
  • make a prohibition order, which closes the whole or part of a dwelling or restricts the number of permitted occupants;
  • suspend these types of notice;
  • take emergency action;
  • serve a hazard awareness notice;
  • make a demolition order *
  • declare a clearance area *

(* not available for Category 2 hazards)

The HHSRS hazard rating is based on the most vulnerable potential occupant. But authorities will be able to take account of the vulnerability of the actual occupant in deciding the best course of action.

The Act retains the powers available to authorities to act in default (carryout works on behalf of the owner) and prosecute lack of compliance. It also enables them to charge and recover charges for enforcement action.

Landlords & Managing Agents - Guidance & Useful Links

The following Guidance for Landlords and Property Related Professionals (PDF) has been produced by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

The following Thinking about renting out your home? (PDF) information has been prepared to help you understand the responsibilities of becoming a private landlord. It is not intended as a comprehensive summary of the relevant legislation and you may need to seek independent legal advice.

Bridgend County Borough Council is participating in a Wales wide Landlord Accreditation Scheme

For advice please contact Public Protection.

Last Updated: 25/06/2013
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