What the HHRS is and how it affects Landlords.
The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is a risk based evaluation tool to help local authorities identify and protect against potential risks and hazards to health and safety from any deficiencies identified in dwellings. It was introduced under the Housing Act 2004 and came into effect on 6 April 2006 and applies to residential properties in England.
Part 1 of the Housing Act 2004 establishes the HHSRS as the current statutory assessment criterion for housing and it is based on the principle that:
Councils are empowered to ensure properties in the private rented sector comply with HSSRS. They do this assessing whether properties have housing hazards of which there 29 different classifications. These are arranged in four main groups reflecting the basic health requirements. The four groups are sub-divided according to the nature of the hazards. See list click here.
The most common hazards are cold, fire, falls, lead in drinking water pipes and old paintwork, and hot surfaces that could lead to burns or scalds. For example, fires, heaters, cookers and hot taps.
The council have the power to inspect any rented property and perform a risk assessment -this looks at the likelihood of an incident arising from the condition of the property and the likely harmful outcome. For example, how likely is a fire to break out, what will happen if one does?
Where the council inspector identifies risks in the first instance they are advised [within the legislation guidance], to try to work with the Landlord on an informal basis to resolve such issues.
It becomes understandable why one Inspector may determine a risk different from another Official. This is why Landlords should NOT accept as verbatim the resolution and should ALWAYS work with the Inspector so they can differentiate between risks, hazard and preferred resolutions. Property owners should also obtain their own determinations by appointing suitably qualified tradesman to assess other viable alternatives. See Council Inspections.
A Landlords MUST however work with the council and demonstrate they are endeavouring to find a way forward. If the Landlord fails to co-operate the council can make a charge for the cost of carrying out inspections that lead to enforcement action. They can also claim the costs of works if they are obliged to do the work themselves. See Enforcement Section 11.
Immigration Act revised 2016 should a landlord or letting agent fail to ensure ALL tenants/occupiers have a righto reside for the duration of the tenancy then they may be fined £3000 for each breach. The Secretary of State may instruct the landlord to remove such persons without the need of a court order by way of reasonable force
Labour market enforcement - restriction on illegal migrants to work. A labour market enforcement undertaking (an “LME undertaking”) is an undertaking by the person giving it (the “subject”) to comply with any prohibitions, restrictions and requirements set out in the undertaking
Under section 42 of the County Courts Act 1984 it is possible for the Court to transfer a matter from the County Court to the High Court for enforcement but leave (permission) of the Court is required first. The transfer time varies from court to court and can take up to 28 days, but normally takes far less. An application to seek permission can be made either at the time of making the possession claim or after possession has been ordered.