Housing health and safety rating system
The housing health and safety rating system (HHSRS) is a method of assessing housing conditions and replaces the Housing Fitness Standard.
The HHSRS is a risk-based evaluation tool that local authorities can use to assist them in identifying and preventing potential health and safety risks and hazards from developing in dwellings. It is applicable to all residential homes in England and Wales. It was introduced under the Housing Act 2004 and brought into effect by the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (England) Regulations 2005.
The system does not outline minimum standards but focuses on avoiding or minimising potential hazards from developing.
 Principles of the system
The system provides a method for grading the severity of threats to health and safety in dwellings including; houses, non self-contained flats, self-contained flats, bedsits, rooms in university halls or other residential buildings.
The system includes 29 hazards which are related to:
- Excess cold or heat.
- Accidents, such as; falls, electric shocks, fires, burns, scalds and so on.
- Collisions, explosions and structural collapse.
- Poor hygiene, sanitation and water supply.
- Lack of space.
- Excessive noise.
- Pollutants such as; asbestos, carbon monoxide, lead and so on.
- Category 1 hazard if they are ‘serious’ and score highly.
- Otherwise a category 2 hazard.
If the local authority discovers a category 1 hazard in a home, they have a duty to take the most appropriate action. In the first instance this is an informal process, but if the action is unsuccessful, the local authority can serve notice on a landlord requiring them to undertake improvements to the property. If only a minor hazard exists, the authority may serve a hazard-awareness notice to highlight the problem. If the householder is at an immediate risk, emergency remedial action may be undertaken by the local authority.
 Grounds for appeal
When an improvement notice or prohibition order is served on an owner or agent, they can appeal against the notice, typically within 21 days.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki.
- Housing Design SPG.
- Affordable housing.
- Changing lifestyles.
- Draft London Housing Strategy (blog November 2013).
- Housing standards review.
- Inclusive design.
 External references
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