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Call for views on the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)

Friday 05 March 2021

The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) is carrying out a two-year review of the HHSRS to update and simplify the process. Four surveys will be running from 3 – 31 March to canvass the views of those impacted, including housing regulators and surveyors, landlords, other property professionals and residents.

The HHSRS is a tool used to assess the risk to health and safety arising from deficiencies within a dwelling. Currently, the HHSRS assesses private rented residential property against 29 identifiable hazards.

Local Authorities use the HHSRS to assess a range of potential hazards in rented properties, such as damp, excess cold, and electrical faults as well as fire and falls. It is the first step Local Authorities take before deciding which, if any, powers under Part 1 of the Housing Act 2004 Act should be used. It is also a component of the Decent Homes Standard.

Having been in place for 15 years, the MHCLG wants to review the HHSRS because building technology and knowledge about risks and hazards in buildings have advanced.

HHSRS consultation in 2019

A consultation took place in February 2019 to consider options to update and simplify the process. Following this, the UK Government set out proposals of what it intends to do with the HHSRS. You can read more about these in our previous article.

Letting agents and housing professionals' surveys

The review will impact a variety of stakeholders and the project team is keen to engage with those who will be affected as part of this process.

Two of the four surveys are aimed at letting agents, and housing professionals who have a more in-depth knowledge of the HHSRS. Help inform the future direction of the UK's assessment of housing conditions and the HHSRS framework by contributing to the surveys.

Letting agents survey      Housing professionals survey

HHSRS review and associated research

Because of the wide-ranging nature of the work, the project team believes that engaging with a full range of stakeholders is critical to success.

As well as lettings agents and housing professionals, a survey is being run to canvass the views of individuals and organisations who have a working knowledge of the end-to-end HHSRS assessment and able to identify the technology used in this process. There is also a survey for tenants in the private rented sector, housing association tenants and owner-occupiers.

The review and associated research will focus on recommendations in relation to the following:

  • Review of the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) Operating Guidance
  • Development of an updated set of worked examples
  • Reviewed HHSRS training for assessors and other stakeholders, including the introduction of a competency framework
  • Development of a simpler means of banding HHSRS assessment results
  • New recommended minimum standards
  • Assessment into the amalgamation or removal of existing hazard profiles
  • Review of HHSRS digital assessment tools
  • Reviewed and updated HHSRS ‘Landlords Guidance’ and new ‘Tenants Guidance’
  • Reviewed and updated HHSRS Enforcement Guidance
  • Review of the fire safety hazard.

For those of you with limited experience of HHSRS, the Building Research Establishment has produced a video on the insight of the principles – click here to view the video.

Propertymark resources

Members have access to a variety of resources, including The Home (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act fact sheet, which breaks down the legislation and acts as a go-to guide for agents in England. These, along with a vast array of other resources, can be found in the member area.

Propertymark also runs a wide range of virtual courses including one on Understanding HMOs and the Current Licensing System to strengthen your knowledge.

View virtual courses