Residential Landlords Association (RLA)
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Government to shake up health and safety standards

The government has confirmed it will make changes to its Housing Health and Safety Rating System, used to assess health and safety in the home.

Council officers use the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) to assess if rented homes have hazards that could put tenants’ health at risk and can take action against landlords if they don’t meet the standards.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has carried out a scoping review looking at whether the system should be updated – and has decided it should be changed to make it easier to understand.

The recommendations of the scoping review set out three options for the second stage of the HHSRS review:

  • Option one would be the minimum required to improve, clarify and modernise the HHSRS assessment.
  • Option two includes Option 1 and will also address whether some hazard profiles can be removed or combined and to improve the guidance given to landlords and tenants.
  • Option three would result in a comprehensive review of the HHSRS assessment process by building on options one and two.

It has now decided to go ahead with option two.

In a statement MHCLG said: “Government will proceed with option two as this will make the system easier to understand for landlords and tenants, correct the disconnect between the HHSRS and other legislative standards, and facilitate the effective enforcement of housing standards by local authorities. It is also the most cost-effective option.”

John Stewart, RLA policy manager said:

“The RLA has been calling for a review of the standards and we agree option two is the most sensible way forward.

“This will give the government the opportunity to simplify the HHSRS system to make it easier for landlords and tenants to understand and make its application more consistent.”

More information

  • To read the government’s full response click here.
  • Further information about the Housing, Health and Safety Ratings System can be accessed here.
  • The RLA’s submission to the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee inquiry into the private rented sector can be accessed here. It notes: “Ministers could take a number of actions without legislation to make improvements in the private rented sector including adopting into regulations the industry supported code, updating guidance on the Housing, Health and Safety Rating System, and updating the ‘How to Rent’ guide for tenants.”


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