In October 2018 the government launched a scoping review to consider whether the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) should be updated and, if so, to what extent. This review has now reported, and the Minister for Housing and Homelessness Heather Wheeler has announced that there will be a comprehensive overhaul of the HHSRS to begin later this year.
This will make it simpler and quicker for local authorities to assess health and safety standards in rented homes, helping them to improve conditions for tenants and better tackle rogue landlords. It will directly address what we’ve been told by experts in the field: that the system should be simplified, that minimum standards for common health and safety hazards should be developed and that digital solutions for inspecting rented houses and flats should be explored.
The HHSRS is used by local authorities to assess a range of potential hazards in rented properties, such as damp, excess cold and electrical faults as well as fire and falls. But it hasn’t been updated in over 12 years and tenants, and landlords, tenants and local authorities say it is complicated and inefficient to use.
This work is an important part of ongoing government action to drive up standards in the rental sector – making sure tenants are living in safe and secure properties; cracking down on the small minority of landlords that are renting out unsafe and substandard accommodation; and ensuring the housing market works for everyone.
The outcomes of the scoping review report can be viewed above.