The Government is performing a two-year review of the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). Its latest survey for landlords and for tenants will both close on 31st March 2021.
The rental payment provider says that agents and landlords can help to shape the future of the rental sector by completing a survey as part of this review. The HHSRS provides local authorities with the means to check health and safety in residential properties, information they can then use to advise or order landlords to carry out improvements.
Neil Cobbold, Chief Sales Officer at PayProp, says: “Completing the HHSRS survey is valuable for letting agencies, landlords and tenants, as their input could have a bearing on future private rental housing standards.
“The rental sector has evolved considerably since the HHSRS was introduced in 2006. Therefore, it’s vital that the system is updated to reflect the current market. Letting agents can now help develop smarter, more realistic regulation for rented homes.”
The Government is currently in the second phase of its plan to update the HHSRS. The first phase was launched in October 2018, although no results or updates were made public.
Cobbold says: “These surveys inviting feedback from all stakeholders are a positive step forward and it suggests an outcome of the HHSRS review may be on the horizon.”
He notes that the private rental sector has grown rapidly since 2006 and now accounts for approximately a fifth of all households. During this time, tenant demographics have also changed, with more families and older people renting than ever before.
Cobbold explains: “It’s crucial that the HHSRS is updated to ensure guidance on property hazards is brought in line with current expectations and standards.
“New regulations introduced since the first phase of the HHSRS review, such as the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act and requirements for mandatory electrical checks in rental properties, could also affect how property hazards are monitored in the future.”
The HHSRS was introduced in 2006 under the Housing Act 2004, helping local authorities flag hazards in residential properties, such as damp, overcrowding and fire risks.
The hazards are ranked in categories, with a ‘category 1’ hazard being the most dangerous type. The review will look at a range of issues, including whether new minimum standards are needed, whether tenant and landlord guidance needs to be updated, a review of the fire safety hazard and the development of updated examples of different hazards. It will also review the HHSRS Operating Guidance and Enforcement Guidance, and determine whether existing hazards could be combined or removed.
The survey for landlords and the survey for tenants will both close on 31st March 2021.