The Housing Act 2004 introduced a way for us to assess housing conditions.
It uses a risk assessment approach called the housing health and safety rating system (HHSRS).
It aims to provide a system allowing risks from health and safety hazards to be removed or minimsed.
The system looks at 29 hazards covering:
- dampness, excess cold/heat
- pollutants, such as asbestos, carbon monoxide and lead
- lack of space, security or lighting, or excessive noise
- poor hygiene, sanitation, water supply
- accidents - falls, electric shocks, fires, burns, scalds
- collisions, explosions, structural collapse
Much more information about the hazards, assessments and what enforcement action can be taken can be found on the GOV.UK website.
Grounds for appeal
An owner or agent who has an improvement notice or prohibition order served on him can appeal, normally within 21 days. Appeals are heard by a first-tier tribunal - property chamber.
The main grounds for appeal are likely to be that:
- the deficiency referred to in the notice doesn't amount to a hazard
- someone else is responsible for carrying out work at the property and the notice should be served on that person; and/or
- the works required in the notice are unreasonable or excessive and alternative works should be considered
The tribunal can be flexible in allowing appeals and may also mediate between local councils and owners and agents to try to resolve appeals without a formal hearing.
If a notice isn't complied with within the time allowed, usually 28 days, prosecutions for non-compliance are heard in the magistrates' court.
For more information, please contact First-tier tribunal on 0161 237 9491 or at Property Chamber, First floor, Piccadilly Exchange, 2 Piccadilly Plaza, Manchester, M1 4AH.