Are there hazards in your rented home?

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System or HHSRS is an assessment made by the council if you complain about bad or unsafe conditions in your home. If the council decides that your home contains serious health or safety hazards , the council can take action.

What hazards are covered by the HHSRS?

A hazard is a problem in a home which could harm the health or safety of someone living there. There are 29 hazards which can be assessed under the HHSRS. The most common are:

  • damp and mould growth
  • excess cold
  • crowding and a lack of space
  • difficulty in securing the property from intruders
  • risk of falling on level surfaces
  • risk of falling on stairs
  • fire

Categories of hazard

Hazards also fall into different categories, rated from 1 to 4.

When a hazard presents a severe threat to health or safety of a resident, it is known as a category 1 hazard. Example are:

  • your home doesn't have adequate heating
  • any fire alarms don't work
  • there is a leaking roof
  • there is a broken rail on a steep stairway
  • there is a lack of physical security, for example your doors and windows don't close or lock properly.

What can be done about hazards in your privately rented home?

If you are worried about the condition of your home, you can ask your local council to carry out an HHSRS inspection. You can also ask the council to inspect a neighbouring property if you think it is causing a hazard to your household.

An officer from the council will assess the risks in your home, and any hazard will be given a score – the higher the score, the greater the risk of harm.

If the council finds any category 1 hazards in your home, it has a legal responsibility or duty to take action. If it finds a category 2 hazard, it will usually try to deal with the situation informally, for example by giving the landlord advice about how to solve the problem.

When the situation is very serious (for example, there's no heating at all or there's faulty wiring), or the landlord won't fix the hazards, the council can take enforcement action to make the landlord carry out improvements, or the council can fix the problems itself and then charge the landlord.

Get advice if you're not sure about hazards in your home – use our directory to find a local advice centre.

What can be done about hazards in your council or housing association home?

To meet the Decent Homes Standard, council and housing association properties should be free of category 1 hazards.

If you are worried that there are hazards in the home you rent from the council or from a housing association, speak to your landlord – you can do this informally at first, by writing or emailing them.

You can also ask the council's environmental health officer to inspect your home.

If you’re still not happy with the way your complaint is investigated, you can contact the Housing Ombudsman and ask them to look at your complaint.

Hazards in private tenancies provided by the council

If a private rented tenancy has been offered to you by the council because you’re homeless, but the property doesn’t pass the HHSRS, it won’t count as ‘suitable’ accommodation and the council should find you somewhere else to live.

For more information, see the page on suitable and unsuitable housing offers.

Shared houses

There are additional health and safety requirements for houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). For more information, see the page on living in a shared house or flat.

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