Improving Housing Standards

The Housing Standards Team is responsible for the assessment and improvement of private accommodation in our area.

Our objective is to make privately rented homes decent, safe and comfortable to live in.

The Housing Standards team deal with complaints from tenants regarding the poor condition of their rental accommodation, this could include issues with damp/mould, lack of heating, lack of fire detection or overcrowding.

They also deal with complaints regarding Blocks of Flats, Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) and HMO Licensing.

In certain circumstances the team also investigates poor housing conditions in owner/occupied property.

Assessing a property

  • Our enforcement officers conduct a survey of the property to establish its condition
  • If we find conditions that contribute to a significant hazard we will contact your landlord and provide them with a list of repairs that are required to remove the hazard
  • Once repairs are completed we will re-inspect the property to ensure they are completed to the required standard

We use the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) to make the assessment of potential risks to the health and safety of occupants and, we have a range of enforcement powers to ensure that standards are achieved.

Under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System we have the following powers to deal with hazards in the home, these include:

Improvement Notice
This requires the person on whom it is served (usually the landlord) to carry out repairs within a certain period of time.

Hazard Awareness Notice
This advises the person on whom it is served that a  hazard exists at the property.

Prohibition Order
This prohibits the use of the property as living accommodation.

Emergency Actions
We have the power to undertake Remedial works or place prohibition orders immediately if the hazard poses an imminent risk to the health of the occupier

Where possible we will always try to work with the owner or landlord of a property to ensure that hazards are rectified and enforcement options are provided.

Approved Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations 2015
On October 1, 2015 the government introduced regulations requiring landlords to install and maintain smoke alarms with every rented property.

These alarms must be installed on each storey that contains a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation.

In addition the new act requires landlords to install and maintain a carbon monoxide alarm in each room that contains a solid fuel burning appliance.
For further details of these regulations can be found in the Icon for pdf Explanation Guide for Landlords and Tenants [155.99KB]. More information can also be found on the National Landlords Association Website

Civil Penalties as introduced by the Housing and Planning Act 2016

The Housing and Planning Act 2016 gave Councils new powers to issue civil penalties as an alternative to court prosecution for specified offences.

The Council has considered guidance issued by the government and proposes to use these powers where it is considered appropriate. The enforcement procedure used by the Housing Standards department has been updated to reflect these powers. This procedure specifies when these powers should be used, the process to be followed and the amount of the penalty to be imposed.

The amount of this penalty must not exceed £30,000.

For further details of this process can be found in the Icon for pdf Housing Standards Enforcement Procedure [176.68KB] and Icon for pdf Housing Standards Locally Adopted Charges [107.78KB] documents. These explain the proposed procedures in more detail.

The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015

Landlords of rented property are required to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) in place which details on a scale from A to G the energy efficiency of a dwelling and provides useful information on likely fuel consumption costs.

From April 1, 2018, we have new powers to prohibit the letting of sub-standard properties which achieve only an F or G rating. Such properties waste energy and impose unnecessary costs on tenants and the wider economy. In addition, these properties contribute to avoidable greenhouse gas emissions.

The implementation of this legislation is to be phased in over two years from April 1, 2018 to April 1, 2020, with a letting restriction applying to new tenancies; including where an existing tenancy is extended or renewed. Further details of these regulations can be found in the Icon for pdf Energy Efficiency Regulations [185.71KB]

We are currently updating the Enforcement Procedure and Financial Penalty structure. Further details of this will be provided in due course, and before any such notices are issued.