Environment, Safety and Standards

Government to shake up health and safety standards

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

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.”


About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Communications Manager for the RLA and award-winning Editor of RPI magazine. With 16 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and editorial content for our media partners.

She issues press releases promoting the work of the RLA and its policies and campaigns to the regional and national media and works alongside the marketing team on the association’s social media channels to build support for the RLA and its work.

1 Comment

  • My wife and I recently completed the HHSRS inspectors course. We were the only landlords there, plus twelve local authority enforcement officers. The examples used to work the HHSRS sceme are all from decades ago and the process of acheiving the rating is incredibly comlpicated. We all passed but only with many prompts from the instructor. As landlords, we are at great risk of prosecution under this system as it is always possible to fail a property, ( steep stairs are an automatic fail, no matter what measures you take ). The safety issues which are high risk are often not what seems most obvious, and local authority health and safety officers inspecting my properties have not been properly aware of what scores highly in terms of HHSRS. This is a terrible system and with local authorities having a duty to encourage tenants to go for rent repayment orders under the changed legislation, the prospect of a years rent being available may encourage a “no win no fee” style of claim culture emerging.

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