Ruling on Right to Rent Judicial Review 21 April The verdict on the Appeal against the ruling in the Judicial Review brought by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants and the Residential Landlords Association was published today, 21 April, rejecting claims that the scheme is solely responsible for discrimination in selecting potential tenants for private sector rented property. Read More TPO say agents should not ignore issues during Coronavirus 21 April The Property Ombudsman TPO has issued guidelines on how businesses should handle issues that arise during the restrictions around Coronavirus and reminds agents that redress scheme membership must continue. A consultation took place in February of this year to consider options to update and simplify the process. Housing Minister, Heather Wheeler MP has clarified that they will be moving forward with Option 2, to improve, clarify and modernise HHSRS and will address whether any of the 29 hazards can be removed or combined.
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Damp and mould growth Under the HHSRS operating guidance there are three different types of damp condensation, rising and penetrating that landlords need to be aware of as well as your common garden variety mould. Ensuring your property is correctly ventilated, educating tenants properly and responding to issues swiftly reduce chances of damp and mould. Excess cold Excess cold in a property can exacerbate respiratory conditions like pneumonia or bronchitis and can be particularly harmful for old people and the very young.
Ensure your boiler is in good working order, the property is well-insulated and that windows and doors are properly fitted to avoid draughts. Excess heat High indoor temperatures can be just as dangerous as excess cold , increasing the chances of dehydration and cardiovascular issues. Asbestos and MMF manufactured mineral fibres Common in older buildings asbestos and MMF were once used as insulation , asbestos is extremely dangerous.
Not only can it do significant damage to lungs and a host of respiratory problems, asbestos also causes lung cancer. Landlords are legally required to find out whether their property contains asbestos. If asbestos is discovered, it should be assessed then either removed or labelled and sealed, depending on its state of advancement. Biocides Biocides in a property come about when mould growth or timber is treated with harsh chemicals, which then build up in a property. Any chemicals should be stored safely and carefully.
Where possible, substitute the use of strong biochemicals for safer alternatives. Carbon monoxide and fuel combustion products Faulty boilers are the leading cause of excess carbon monoxide and carbon monoxide poisoning in properties. Left unchecked, this hazard can lead to dizziness, breathing problems and if the problem is allowed to persist, even death. Make sure you have properly installed and functioning carbon monoxide detectors.
Schedule regular maintenance of both alarms and test and certify all gas burning appliances. Lead Lead ingestion due to the presence of paint with a heavy lead content or lead poisoning as a result of affected water pipes are the areas around which the lead HHSRS hazard is assessed. Lead poisoning can cause mental health issues and nervous system problems as well as affecting fertility and leading to death.
Check and make sure all water pipes are inspected and well maintained. Where possible, replace or paint over lead pipe work and respond promptly in the instance that any resident raises concerns. Radiation Radon gas, which comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, can get into a property through a basement or cellar floor in an airborne state, but also dissolved in water.
Although occurrences of this hazard are rare, in extreme cases it can lead to death. Uncombusted fuel gas Uncombusted fuel gas in a property can lead to a host of individual health issues — such as suffocation and brain damage - and where flammable, also poses an extreme risk of explosion. All gas-emitting appliances boiler, gas stoves, wood burning fires must be safely installed and checked annually. Volatile organic compounds A diverse group of organic chemicals, including formaldehyde, which are gaseous at room temperature can be found in a number of materials in the home.
If encountered, they can cause nausea, dizziness and drowsiness and aggravate allergies and skin conditions. Ensure that products like paints and glues which could be volatile chemical compounds are stored securely and only used in well-ventilated rooms. Crowding and space Crowding , inadequate space to live and sleep in can result in problems associated with poor hygiene as well as having a negative effect on the relationships among the inhabitants.
Properties should be rented on the basis that no more than 2 people share a bedroom and the layout of the rooms should not impact on the privacy of its occupants. Entry by intruders Providing a safe and secure home particularly around entry and exit points is a legal requirement for all landlords.
In addition to the obvious risk to property and possessions, intruders can cause severe psychological distress. Doors should be strong, secure and well-lit.
Windows should have suitable locks and where possible burglar alarms should be fitted. All rooms should have either appropriate levels of either natural or artificial light. Noise Excessive noise in a property, due to the proximity to sources of loud carrying sound falls under the HHSRS hazards because the impact of prolonged exposure can cause both physiological and psychological problems.
There should be adequate sound insulation between different dwellings in instances of HMOs. Properties on busy main roads would benefit from double-glazing. Domestic hygiene, pests and refuse This relates to poor design and layout of a property, making it hard to keep clean and hygienic and encouraging the infestation of household pests mice, rats, bedbugs or a host of other domestic nasties that may spread illness and disease.
Adequate facilities for the storage and disposal of rubbish should be provided and all cracks, holes or voids should be blocked and sealed to avoid the entry and shelter of household pests. Food safety Providing substandard facilities for the preparation and storage of food also encourages the likelihood of pests in the home. Common problems springing from this include vomiting, food poisoning and diarrhoea. Kitchens need to have washable surfaces, decent storages and be maintained in a sanitary condition with effective ventilation.
There should be space for a cooker and a fridge. Baths, sinks and toilets should be connected to a well-maintained drainage system. There should be space for a washing machine and all surfaces should be easy to keep clean. An adequate water supply is mandatory, with cold water coming direct from the mains. Water tanks should be covered. Falls associated with baths Falls associated with baths on the property are common in properties rented by elderly or more vulnerable tenants.
Injuries can range from cuts and scrapes to broken bones and head wounds. Bathroom surfaces should be slip resistant and where necessary for the elderly and vulnerable railings should be provided. Falls on level surfaces Level surfaces refers to falls indoors, in gardens or on paths and walkways including thresholds and trip steps where the change in surface height is less than 30cm. Floors should be well-maintained and free of trip hazards.
Falls associated with stairs and ramps This hazard relates to both internal and external steps any incident where the change in level was greater than 30cm. Stairs should have even tread heights and have adequate hand-rails. Falls between levels This hazard refers to falls from balconies, landings or windows.
Injuries can include anything from bruises to brain damage. Guarding should be provided on balconies and landings and windows should have child locks or catches. Where necessary they should be restricted from opening too wide. Electrical hazards Every home has an abundance of potential electrical hazards — anything from poor wiring to faulty electrical appliances.
Wiring and electrical appliances should be regularly checked and certified. All installations should be made safe with an appropriate number of well-placed sockets. Again, the electrical installation must be safe and in good repair, heaters and cookers should be situated away from flammable materials and there should be doors to all rooms, especially kitchens.
Smoke alarms should be fitted to give early warning in the event of a fire. Flames, hot surfaces and materials Injuries caused by coming into contact with hot materials or naked flames. Radiators and pipes should be encased and cookers should be appropriately situated to reduce accidental contact. Explosions Risk of explosion at the property and associated injuries caused by coming into contact with it.
All appliances and flammable materials should be well-maintained and safety glass should be fitted to glazed doors to minimise the effects of a potential explosion in internal specifics of a property. Ergonomics The ergonomics of the property and the physical ramifications that could have on its resident — e. Windows, cupboards and appliances should be easy to reach to reduce the risk of sprains.
Structural collapse and falling elements Inadequate maintenance of a building can lead to structural collapse, which could then result in serious physical injury of the resident. Regular maintenance of a property will prevent tiles or slates from falling from a roof, and will prevent ceilings or kitchen cupboards from falling down.
It will most likely issue an improvement notice, which sets out the following: All the hazards that require addressing Details of which works must be undertaken to fix them. A strict time frame for which the necessary works are to be completed. Failure to comply can result in either a civil or criminal prosecution. In extreme cases the council could issue an emergency action and carry out the works arbitrarily and charge the homeowner for all costs. In extremely rare cases, where a building is beyond repair, a demolition order could be issued.
For Category Two hazards, the council can issue either an improvement notice as above or a Hazard Awareness Notice, which identifies the hazard and tells the landlord how to fix them but does not provide a mandatory timeline. In addition to potentially having expensive works forced upon you without consent or in rare cases seeing the demolition or clearance of your property there are also legal ramifications for non-compliance. Landlords and homeowners who fail to comply can face criminal prosecution.
Agents are not exempt, with several facing civil prosecution as councils clamp down and push for prosecution as part of a new crack down on adequate living conditions.
Housing health and safety rating system (HHSRS) enforcement guidance: housing conditions
Request an accessible format. If you use assistive technology such as a screen reader and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email alternativeformats communities. Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use. Details The housing health and safety rating system HHSRS is a risk-based evaluation tool to help local authorities identify and protect against potential risks and hazards to health and safety from any deficiencies identified in dwellings. It was introduced under the Housing Act and applies to residential properties in England and Wales.
Housing health and safety rating system (HHSRS) guidance
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HHSRS assessment to be updated and improved
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