Under the Housing Act 2004, local authorities have a duty to keep a check on the housing conditions in the area. We can inspect a property if we think that there is a health and safety issue.
We use the housing health and safety rating system (HHSRS), to assess housing conditions. This covers:
- Dampness, and excess cold or heat
- Pollutants such as asbestos, carbon monoxide, lead
- Lack of space, security or lighting, or excessive noise
- Poor hygiene, sanitation, water supply
- Accidents, such as falls, electric shocks, fires, burns and scalds
- Collisions, explosions, or structural collapse.
Hazards are rated according to how serious they are. For the most serious hazards (category 1), the local authority has a duty to act. We also have powers to deal with any category 2 hazards, if we decide it’s necessary.
Where possible, we will try to work with the person responsible for the building (the owner, landlord, managing agent etc) and encourage them to make the necessary improvements. However, we may sometimes need to use our enforcement powers to deal with the issue.