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Help to Shape the Future of the Housing Health and Safety Rating System: Participate in our Online Surveys

3rd March 2021 Training

RH Environmental Ltd has been appointed by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to carry out a two-year research project on their behalf. The review and associated research focus on recommendations in relation to the following:

  • Review of the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) Operating Guidance
  • Development of an updated set of worked examples
  • Reviewed HHSRS training for assessors and other stakeholders, including the introduction of a competency framework
  • Development of a simpler means of banding HHSRS assessment results
  • New recommended minimum standards
  • Assessment into the amalgamation or removal of existing hazard profiles
  • Review of HHSRS digital assessment tools
  • Reviewed and updated HHSRS ‘Landlords Guidance’ and new ‘Tenants Guidance’
  • Reviewed and updated HHSRS Enforcement Guidance
  • Review of the fire safety hazard.

The HHSRS was developed in the 1990s and has been in place for approximately 15 years. In that time, building technology and knowledge about risks and hazards in buildings have advanced. The system is a tool for assessing risk relating to health and safety matters arising from deficiencies within the dwelling and is the first step local authorities take before considering which, if any, powers under Part 1 of the Housing Act 2004 Act should be used. It is also a component of the Decent Homes Standard.

The review of the HHSRS will impact upon a wide range of stakeholders, including housing regulators and surveyors, landlords, other property professionals and residents. For this reason, the project team believes that engagement with these groups is critical to its success. Online surveys are one of the key methods we are using to reach out to all those affected by this review. There are four in total, available for a period of four weeks, from Wednesday 3 March until Wednesday 31 March 2021. Please find below some further details (and links) on each:

EHPs, HHSRS Assessors and Other Housing Professionals Survey: Aimed at those with a more in-depth knowledge of the HHSRS, its principles and assessment requirements. Stakeholders might include local authority private sector housing and homelessness teams, HHSRS assessors, trainers and/or academics, as well as other housing surveyors, legal professionals and tenant and occupier representative organisations.

Landlords Survey: Aimed at private and social rented sector landlords. Stakeholders may include local authority or housing association providers, lettings and managing agents, block managers or private and purpose-built student accommodation providers.

HHSRS Digital Assessment Tools Survey: Aimed at all those individuals and organisations (local authority private and social sector housing teams, registered providers of social housing, other housing providers such as charitable organisations and private companies who deliver housing survey inspections) who have a working knowledge of the end-to-end HHSRS assessment process as it is practised and are able to identify the technology that is being used in this process, what the future technology requirements might be and the opportunities that can be derived from data collection during the assessment process.

Tenants Survey: Aimed at private rented sector and housing association tenants and owner-occupiers.

We would welcome your/your colleague’s/your organisation’s participation in completing one or more of the surveys, and if you are a representative body or similar, we ask that you help us disseminate this information to others who would also have an interest in sharing their views on this area of housing. If you would like further information, please contact us on hhsrs@rheglobal.com. Your participation in this study is much appreciated and will help inform the future direction of the assessment of housing conditions and the HHSRS framework.

For those with limited experience of HHSRS, our colleagues at the Building Research Establishment have produced a video giving an ‘An introduction to the HHSRS’. This will give you an insight into the principles of the HHSRS, should you wish to view prior to completing the online survey/s applicable to you.