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What is a Housing Health and Safety Rating System inspection?

The Housing Act 2004 requires local authorities to use the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) for assessing the living conditions of a property. When the council’s private sector housing officers inspect a property they will look for any risk of harm to an actual or potential occupier of the property, which results from any deficiency that can cause a hazard.

They will judge the severity of the risk by thinking about the likelihood of an occurrence that could cause harm, and the range of damage and injury that could result. They will make these judgements in relation to those who, mostly based on age, would be most vulnerable to the hazard, even if people in these age groups may not actually be living in the property at the time. This means even a vacant property can be assessed and that if the property is rated as safe for those considered being most vulnerable it will be safe for anyone.

After the inspection, a HHSRS score is calculated which demonstrates the seriousness of hazards that can cause harm in the property. The officers then, taking into account enforcement guidance from the government, determine what action is the most appropriate to remedy the hazard or hazards.

The scoring system for hazards is prescribed by the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (England) Regulations 2005 (SI 2005 No 3208). For more information please refer to the government guidance documents below.

HHSRS Guidance for Landlords and Property Managers

HHRSR Operating Guidance