The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (England) Regulations 2005
Part 1 of the Housing Act 2004 (the Act) introduces the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), which came into force on 6th April 2006. It is an evidence-based system for assessing housing conditions. The HHSRS provides an analysis of how hazardous a property is through assessment of 29 potential hazards found in housing. Each hazard is given a score which will fall into one of 10 bands from band A to band J. Scores that fall into band A indicate a serious hazard whereas scores in band J indicate that the hazard is much less severe. Where there is no hazard, a score will not be recorded.
Scores in bands A to C are classed as category 1 hazards and the local authority is obliged to take action. Scores in bands D to J are category 2 hazards and the local authority can use discretion whether to take action. The score is based on the risk to the potential occupier or visitor who is most vulnerable to that particular hazard. For example, the elderly are most vulnerable to hazards relating to stairs. A home that is safe for those most vulnerable to that particular hazard is safe for all.
Where such hazards do exist the local authority is able to take enforcement action, such as serving a hazard awareness notice; serving an improvement notice which requires work to be undertaken to remove or reduce the hazard; making a prohibition order which may restrict the use of all or part of the dwelling; or take action themselves where they consider the hazard needs to be dealt with as a matter of emergency. Whether the local authority must or may take enforcement action will depend on the seriousness of the hazard.