The system which ensures rented properties are safe to live in is to be overhauled, in a development welcomed by Letters MD Anya Mathewson.
The Housing Health and Safety Rating system (HHSRS) is used by local authorities to assess rental properties against 29 identifiable hazards, ranging from damp to electrical faults. But it hasn’t been updated for 12 years and landlords, tenants and local authorities have all criticised it for being complicated and inefficient.
After carrying out a wide-ranging consultation, the Government has announced it will simplify and improve the guidance given to landlords and tenants, to make it quicker and easier for local authorities to assess whether standards are being met.
Anya Mathewson said she fully supported a clear legally-enforced standard for all rented property and looked forward to seeing the improved and clarified assessment system when it is rolled out later this year.
She added: “We already follow HHSRS standards in all our properties – residential, holiday lets and almshouses. We wholeheartedly back legislation which ultimately ensures safe homes for tenants and works towards catching landlords who rent out substandard homes.”
The government said it intended to modernise the HHRS guidance by:
- Developing a comprehensive set of Worked Examples which encompass the range of hazards, illustrate the utilisation of standards and provide a spectrum of risks.
- Delivering better training for HHSRS assessors and other stakeholders.
- Identifying a simpler way of banding the results of HHSRS assessments so that they are clearer to understand and better engage landlords and tenants.
- Developing new assessment standards and clarification of hazards.
- Investigating the use of digital technology to support HHSRS assessments and improving understanding and consistency for all stakeholders.
- Reviewing existing guidance for landlords and property-related professionals and considering the introduction of a separate guide for tenants.
- Reviewing and updating the current HHSRS Enforcement Guidance: Housing Conditions and Part 1 of the Housing Act 2004.
Anya and the Letters team are happy to speak to landlords or tenants who have any questions relating to the new HHSRS guidance. Please contact us.