Housing health and safety rating system
The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) was introduced in England and Wales by the Housing Act 2004. It replaced the pass or fail Housing Fitness Standard in April 2006 because of concerns that it did not properly distinguish between defects and health and safety hazards.
The HHSRS is a risk-based assessment system used by environmental health officers (EHOs) to assess the likelihood and severity of 29 categories of potential health and safety hazards in residential housing (including fire). It can be used in private or social rented housing as well as owner-occupied housing, and is intended to help local authorities identify and protect against potential risks to health and safety resulting from deficiencies in dwellings.
Local authorities have a statutory duty to keep housing conditions in their area under review, and to inspect properties if they consider it appropriate to do so.
An HHSRS score is calculated following an inspection (as prescribed by the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (England) Regulations 2005), and the government has issued statutory Enforcement Guidance explaining the actions local authorities can take and the factors they should consider when deciding which action is the most appropriate.
If the EHO finds a serious hazard (one scoring A – C, called a Category 1 hazard in the Act) the local authority is under a duty to take action. If an EHO finds a less serious hazard (one scoring D – J, called a Category 2 hazard in the Act) the local authority only need take action if they think it is necessary. Enforcement is intended to make the property safer for occupants and potential future occupants and may include the local authority carrying out any necessary remedial work themselves and reclaiming the costs if necessary.
There has been some criticism that since the introduction of the HHSRS there have been no minimum property standards for rented housing in England, and there here have been failed attempts to introduce new legislation to require that residential rented accommodation is maintained in a state fit for human habitation.
 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
- Housing Act 2004.
- Housing Health and Safety Rating System (England) Regulations 2005.
- Housing Health and Safety Rating System Enforcement Guidelines, Part 1: Housing Conditions.
- Housing health and safety rating system: guidance for landlords and property-related professionals.
- Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill.
- Library briefing paper 7328: Housing fitness in the private rented sector.
Featured articles and news
Read about Belgrade's Brutalist landmark - the Western City Gate.
Read about the measures that can be taken by individuals to protect and minimise exposure to outdoor sourced air pollution.
Government announces leaseholds on new-build houses will be banned.
Transport Secretary announces public consultation into London's funding of Crossrail 2.
Have a look at some of the most impressive concert stage designs of all time, including Pink Floyd, U2, Rolling Stones, and more...
What is the Home Quality Mark? Find out how it can help you when buying/renting a new home.
Business Secretary launches £246m Faraday Challenge to establish UK as world leader in battery technology.
Government announces new plans for regulations to improve safety and security awareness of drone users.
Read our introductory article to the various different types of fuel.
IHBC book review: Charles Barry’s monumental struggle to rebuild the Houses of Parliament.
Read about RSHP's British Museum extension which has been shortlisted for the 2017 Stirling Prize.
Read our introductory article to building a house extension.
More updates from DCMS about the large-scale testing of cladding systems and the number of buildings affected.
UandI secure resolution to grant planning consent for major new regeneration project.