Are there hazards in your rented home?

If you are a private, council or housing association tenant, find out what you can do if your rented home isn't safe or healthy to live in.

What are health and safety hazards?

A hazard is a problem in a home which could harm the health or safety of someone living there. It could include problems with damp, mould or something that affects your safety in the home.

The council can take action if an environmental health inspection shows your home contains serious health or safety hazards.

Find out how to complain to environmental health.

There are 29 hazards that your council can assess using the Housing Health and Safety rating system (HHSRS).

Read more about how the HHSRS works.

Hazards in a private rented home

Ask your local council to carry out an inspection if you are worried about the condition of your home. An environmental health officer from the council should assess the risks in your home. 

The council must take action if it finds any category 1 hazards in your home. Category 1 hazards are the most serious.

If it finds a category 2 hazard, it usually tries to deal with the situation informally, for example by giving the landlord advice about how to solve the problem.

The council can take enforcement action to make the landlord carry out improvements if the situation is very serious, for example if there's:

  • no heating at all
  • faulty wiring
  • damp or mould causing health problems

Or the council can fix the problems itself and then charge the landlord.

Some private tenants may be at risk of revenge eviction for complaining, but you may get some protection if your tenancy started after 1 October 2015.

Hazards in a council or housing association home

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

Contact your council or housing association landlord if you are worried that there are hazards in your home. 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 not happy with the way your complaint is investigated, you can complain to the Housing Ombudsman.

Health and safety in shared houses

There are additional health and safety requirements for houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).

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. 

The council should find you somewhere else to live.

Find out more about suitable and unsuitable housing offers.


You can ask the council to inspect a neighbouring property if you think it is affecting your health and safety.

Further advice

Get advice if you're not sure about hazards in your home. Use Shelter's directory to find a local advice centre.

Read Shelter's factsheet Health and safety at home for more information on contacting the council.

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