The government has announced that it will reform the Housing Health Safety Rating System (HHSRS) used to assess health and safety in the home to make it more accessible for landlords and tenants.
Recent consultation found that there was major support for the simplification of the HHSRS assessment, which is why the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has decided to overhaul the system that is used to assess if rented homes have hazards that could put tenants’ health at risk and can take action against landlords if they do not meet the standards.
The recommendations of the scoping carried out by the MHCLG set out three options for the second stage of the HHSRS review:
+ Option one would be the minimum required to improve, clarify and modernise the HHSRS assessment.
+ Option two includes option one and will also address whether some hazard profiles can be removed or combined and to improve the guidance given to landlords and tenants.
+ Option three would result in a comprehensive review of the HHSRS assessment process by building on options one and two.
The government has decided to proceed with Option two as this will make the system easier to understand for landlords and tenants, correct the disconnect between the HHSRS and other legislative standards, and facilitate the effective enforcement of housing standards by local authorities. It is also the most cost-effective option.
In a statement MHCLG said: “Government will proceed with option two as this will make the system easier to understand for landlords and tenants, correct the disconnect between the HHSRS and other legislative standards, and facilitate the effective enforcement of housing standards by local authorities. It is also the most cost-effective option.”
The ARLA Propertymark is among several organisations to welcome the change to the HHSRS.
David Cox, chief executive, ARLA Propertymark, commented: “We’re pleased to hear the Housing Health and Safety Rating System will be updated and improved later this year.
“We have been calling for changes to the HHSRS for a long time, as it is too complicated and not understood by landlords, agents, tenants or local authorities.
“It is why alongside many others in the industry, and the highly respected academic Dr Julie Rugg, we believe a property MOT system would be better than the HHSRS, but the fact the Government is looking at the system is a step in the right direction.”