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Understanding the HHSRS Assessment

What is the HHSRS Assessment you ask?

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is the current standard assessment guide for assessing hazards in the home, as set out in the Housing Act 2004. The HHSRS replaces the former 'fitness standard', which was set out in S.604 of the Housing Act 1985. The HHSRS applies to both owner-occupied and let dwellings. It is mainly used by local authority enforcement officers to consider the risks posed to tenants and their visitors.

Very simply, the HHSRS neatly divides risk areas into 29 hazard bands. HHSRS assessors work through each of the hazard bands (or not if obviously no risk) and enter details about what they see or do not see. They then consider these details against varying associated sources of reference, worked examples, wider knowledge etc; to calculate the likelihood and severity of a harm outcome to occupiers or visitors. In short, the results inform the reader that the risk is a Category 1 (A, B, or C) or Category 2 hazard (D - J). As a guide, a 'Decent' home should be free from Category 1 hazards. The HHSRS calculation process is underpinned by various data, including medical stats, injury incidence, vulnerability of age groups and more. All of this guides the logarithmic calculation which provides the HHSRS risk rating.

Typically used to assess let properties, the HHSRS is a useful tool in demonstrating risk factors to both tenants and landlords. Local authority officers will usually serve an Improvement Notice for Category 1 hazards, and other enforcement options are available as appropriate; including Prohibition Notices and Awareness Notices. Application of the HHSRS is somewhat subjective, and different assessors can come up with different risk ratings for the same issue. However, if the HHSRS is used fairly, logically and with relevant sources of reference to guide it; the end risk rating(s) could be regarded as what ought to have 'reasonably' been expected of a competent HHSRS assessor. This is important because enforcement Notices can be appealed.

The appeals are heard at the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber - Residential Property). This usually consists of three members, often including a professional surveyor, a ley person, and a legal person. In short, the local authority officer(s) will present their case, and the Appellant will present their case. The HHSRS scores will be examined in line with the factors which guided them, and or ought to have guided them. Expert Witnesses may be used to act for the Appellant. An Expert Witness must be appropriately qualified to do so, and will present their evidence in a specific format.

HomePrep and the HHSRS

Our Director has enforced the HHSRS for local authorities. Our Director has helped private clients work through HHSRS assessments, enforcement cases; and has written Technical Reports for presentation to the First Tier Tribunal.

For all your HHSRS assessment needs, speak to us now, so you may be in a better position to keep your tenants, visitors and yourself safe.


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