About Housing Standards
The Housing Standards Department is responsible for the assessment and improvement of private rented accommodation in our area.
Our objective is to make privately rented homes decent, safe and comfortable to live in.
The Housing Standards Department deal with complaints regarding the poor condition of rental accommodation, these complaints include issues such as the presence of damp or mould, lack of heating, lack of fire detection or overcrowding.
We 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 properties.
Housing Health and Safety Rating System
The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is the method of assessing potential risks to occupiers in private sector accommodation.
The HHSRS identifies 29 potential housing related hazards. Find out more on HHSRS.
Assessing a Property
Housing Standards Officers will usually conduct a survey of the property to establish what hazards may be present and the extent of those hazards. We will then carry out a HHSRS assessment based on our findings to provide a numerical score as to the seriousness of each hazard identified.
Following a Survey
In most cases where hazards are identified we will then contact the owner, landlord or agent to advise them of the works we consider reasonable to remedy or reduce the hazards, we will also provide a date by when, in our opinion, it is reasonable for the work to be completed. Once repairs are completed we will normally re-inspect the property to ensure the works are completed to an acceptable standard. The hazards must be removed fully or reduced to a level whereby the hazard is no longer significant.
Where possible we will always try to work with the owner, landlord or agent of a property informally to ensure that hazards are rectified as quickly as possible without the need for formal enforcement action.
Formal Enforcement Action
Where informal action has failed to resolve the issues, or where the officer feels it is appropriate, it may be necessary for formal enforcement action to be taken. A number of enforcement options are available to the Council but the most common notices that are issued by the department are;
- 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 emergency prohibition orders if the hazard poses an imminent risk to the health of the occupier.
If you have gas appliances in your property, the landlord must have them serviced and tested by a qualified person every 12 months and obtain a certificate to prove that the appliances are safe to use. Further information regarding gas safety can be found on the Health and Safety Executive website by using the following link Health and Safety Executive - Domestic Gas Safety.
Freedom of Information Request FAQs
Housing Standards receive a number of FOIs each year. We have therefore decided to publish some of the most frequently asked questions so that this information is available easily and freely. A PDF document is available on the related documents section of this page containing this information. For further information or to find out how to make a request please go to the Freedom of Information page.
It may be necessary for Housing Standards to process personal data when undertaking our duties. Further information regarding the processing of this data is available on the Council's Privacy Statement page.