The Housing Health & Safety Rating System replaces the housing fitness standards previously set out in the Housing Act. The HHSRS will now cover Houses in Multiple Occupation under the same legislation.
The HHSRS provides a framework of 29 categories of housing hazard each of which is assessed and a rating produced.
The 29 categories of hazard fall under the following general headings:
• Physiological requirements
• Psychological requirements
• Protection against infection
• Protection against accidents
The rating obtained falls into one of 10 bands. These bands are grouped into Category 1 hazards (for the most severe three bands) and Category 2 hazards.
HHSRS introduces the concept of the ‘relevant occupier’ which is the person who is potentially most vulnerable to a particular hazard.
Decent Homes Standards are being brought into line with the HHSRS such that social housing stock is to be free of all Category 1 hazards. The HHSRS methodology introduces additional considerations including thermal comfort, falls on stairs and falls on level surfaces.
Compared with the previous Decent Homes Initiative, published statistics advise that an additional 100,000 homes would be defined as not meeting the Decent Homes Standard under HHSRS.
Impact on Local Authorities and RSL’s
Enforcing Authorities have both the power and the duty act in the event that a property exhibits Category 1 hazards. The Authority may serve an Improvement Notice, a Prohibition Order or take action directly depending on circumstances.
RSL’s will need to update stock condition data to take account of the wider remit of the HHSRS.
Registered Social Landlords are required to detail all non-decent homes in their annual regulatory returns to the Housing Corporation. They must outline their strategy for dealing with non-decent homes.
How SJ Treloar & Associates can help
SJ Treloar & Associates is able to provide expert advice to all social landlords regarding the interpretation and application of legislation and standards.
Local Authorities are required to set out how they will deliver decent homes in their Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Business plan.
Recent commissions have included:
• Inspections and expert witness reports on HMO’s and other building on behalf of Local Authorities.
• Carrying out stock condition surveys for RSL’s updating and extending existing information, prioritising and preparing programmes of work.
• Providing expert witness support and advice in response to claims for housing disrepair.
• Advice to owners of HMO’s – designing schemes to bring HMO’s up to the required standard – including support in grant applications.
S J Treloar & Associates provides support to clients throughout the UK and has established partnership arrangements with software houses to enable Decent Homes Standards to be imported into stock condition survey packages.
We are also able to interrogate existing data in certain cases to provide a review of current stock in relation to Decent Homes Standards.