Response - Housing Health and Safety Rating System: Consultation on Enforcement Guidance

By: Jenny Neuburger  Published: March 2004


Shelter broadly supports the replacement of the existing Housing Fitness Standard by the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), backed by a new enforcement regime. 

We welcome the inclusion of a wider range of hazards and the introduction of a duty for local authorities to take enforcement action in respect of serious hazards.  Our four main concerns are that the new system and its enforcement should:

  1. tackle unhealthy and hazardous housing in a strategic way that promotes homelessness prevention and housing choice in the local area
  2. be responsive to views and complaints from residents about disrepair or other hazards in their homes.  At present, authorities have powers to take action on conditions that affect an occupants' material comfort under section 190 of the 1985 Act, which would be repealed under Housing Bill
  3. not increase eviction or reduce access of vulnerable people from rented housing through over-zealous or narrow enforcement approaches, but provide appropriate responses in each case
  4. be clearly linked to and reinforce HMO licensing.  Specific physical standards and enforcement powers in relation to HMOs under Part XI of the 1985 Housing Act will be repealed and not adequately replaced


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