The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is a system designed to regulate and assess hazards in residential property. As part of the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, the HHSRS was created in 2006 to improve conditions in rental properties. The risk assessment is modelled around the potential HHSRS hazards whereby some are more likely to occur than others.
As part of the HHSRS assessment, the environmental officer calculates the HHSRS score for the property by considering:
- likelihood of harm
- the seriousness of the harm
- an additional risk to children or old people
The HHSRS hazards
Damp and mould growth
Among the three types of damp you need to be aware of (aside from the usual mould) the HHSRS operating guidance mentions three types of moisture (condensation, rising, and penetrating).
Make sure that your property is adequately ventilated and ensure that tenants are made aware to do this. Also responding to issues quickly reduces the chances of dampness and mould.
With this in mind, it is important to have solid property management software that also covers repair management and reporting. You can ensure that issues like this are resolved in minimum time, by having yourself, your tenant and the relevant contractor all in one ecosystem to communicate the issue.
When there is too much cold in a building, respiratory conditions like pneumonia or bronchitis can be exacerbated, and it can also be harmful to the very young and the elderly.
Maintain a good boiler, make sure the property is adequately insulated, and make sure your windows and doors are properly fitted so that you don’t experience any draughts.
There is no doubt that high temperatures are just as dangerous as cold, significantly causing dehydration and cardiovascular problems.
To avoid building up hot, stuffy air in your home, you can make sure your heating system is working properly.
Boilers that are faulty are the leading causes of excess carbon monoxide in homes and carbon monoxide poisoning. The presence of this hazard can lead to dizziness, breathing problems, and even death if left unchecked.
It is very important that you have installed and properly functioning carbon monoxide detectors, as well as regular maintenance of both alarms and testing and certification of all gas-burning appliances.
Lack of natural light can increase a resident’s odds of depression, due to the effect said light has on his or her mental health. It also causes eye strain and eye problems.
Both natural and artificial light should be present throughout the property. Lighting services are available at your disposal. See Ikea’s website here for a variety of options on artificial lighting.
Poor layout and design of a home compromise its ability to stay clean and hygienic, fostering the infestation of household pests (rats, silverfish, and a variety of other pests) that spread illness.
In order to prevent household pests from entering and sheltering in your home, you should provide adequate storage and disposal facilities for rubbish.
Water and drainage
The presence of inadequate washing, sanitation, and drainage problems also increases the possibility of infection and illness.
Drainage systems should be well-maintained at all baths, sinks, and toilets. A washing machine should be available and all surfaces should be easily cleanable.
A contaminated water supply (due to bacteria or pollution) is a serious hazard, causing bladder infections and cholera.
There has to be an adequate supply of water, with cold water coming straight from the mains.
Listed are just a few of the 29 HHSRS hazards that need to be considered. For more in-depth analysis on this, please see the government website to download the 72-page PDF on this here.