Housing standards and enforcement - advice for tenants

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Private Tenants – Has your landlord been breaking housing law?

If the answer is yes then you may be able to apply for a Rent Repayment Order in the following circumstances:

             -Improvement notice 

             -Prohibition notice 

             -Civil penalty notice

             -Breach of a banning order

  • You have been evicted illegally or been harassed by your landlord
  • Your landlord has used violence to secure entry to a property

 Read our more comprehensive guide to Rent Repayment Orders here.

Are there hazards in your privately rented home?

A home should be a safe and healthy environment for everyone. A hazard is something that could cause harm to the health and/or safety of a resident or their visitor.

Hazards within the home are assessed using the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) as set out by the Housing Act 2004. There are 29 hazards (the seven hazards under pollutants have been combined for convenience) that are assessed under HHSRS. A checklist of these hazards is included to assist you in identifying any hazards within your home and help you assess the severity of these hazards. If a hazard presents a severe threat to the health and safety of an occupant it is known as a category 1 hazard. A less serious hazard is known as a category 2 hazard.

Who is responsible and how should I take action?

Except in a few circumstances, most major and structural repairs will be the responsibility of your landlord.

If you believe there is a hazard within your home, you should contact your landlord to try to resolve the issue. It is advisable you do this in writing to ensure your landlord is clear what you are asking to be done. A template letter is included to assist you in structuring a letter to your landlord.

If you have given your landlord what you consider to be a fair and reasonable period of time to investigate and complete any necessary works but no progress has been made (i.e. 28 days unless it is an emergency situation), you can contact the Private Sector Housing team for advice or to arrange a HHSRS inspection.

If the investigating officer finds any category 1 hazards in your home, they have a legal responsibility to take further action. If they find a category 2 hazard, they can decide whether it is appropriate to take action or not.

It is usual for the officer to try to deal with the situation informally first, however if the situation is very serious and the landlord will not carry out the required work, the Council will consider appropriate enforcement action, in line with our Environmental Health Enforcement policy 2017.

If you are already on a waiting list to be re-housed by the Council, please be aware that the HHSRS inspection has no influence on your place in the list. It is a tool to help you in your current property, not a fast track system for rehousing.