The Housing Act 2004 introduced the Housing Health and Safety Rating system (HHSRS). It is a way of assessing the risks to the health and safety of occupants in residential properties.
There are 29 hazards (pdf) which can be assessed under the HHSRS, including damp and mould growth, excess cold, fire and falls on stairs. The risk assessment looks at the likelihood of an incident arising from the property and the likely harmful outcome for example how likely is a fire to break out, what happens if one does?
The assessment will show the presence of any serious (Category 1) hazards and other less serious (Category 2) hazards.
if the Council identifies any Category 1 hazards, we have a legal responsibility or duty to take the most appropriate action. Where a Category 2 hazard is identified, we can decide whether to take action or not.
The remedies available to the Council are the service of a notice requiring works to be carried out, emergency improvement notice, prohibition order, hazard awareness notice and demolition order. In deciding what action to take the Council will consider the extent of the works, what is practicable, the effect on adjacent properties.
If works are required and the Landlord does not carry them out the Council may undertake work in default and charge the landlord or prosecute for failure to comply. Further guidance is available on the Communities and Local Government (external link) website.