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Housing enforcement

Last updated on: 09-Apr-2021


The House Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) assists local authorities in targeting properties in the worst condition, often housing some of the most vulnerable people.

Under this system, action by authorities is based on a three-stage consideration:

  • the hazard rating determined under HHSRS;
  • whether the authority has a duty or power to act, determined by the presence of a hazard above or below a threshold prescribed by Regulations [Category 1 and Category 2 hazards]; and
  • the authority's judgement as to the most appropriate course of action to deal with the hazard

The Act contains enforcement options which are available to local authorities.  The choice of the appropriate course of action is for the authority to decide, having regard to statutory enforcement guidance.

The House Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) and hazard assessment.
Hazards which have to be assessed
Damp/Mould Growth Radiation Noise Fire

Excess Heat

Not combustible fuel gas

Domestic Hygiene, pests and refuse

Hot surfaces

Excess Heat

Personal Hygiene, sanitation and drainage

Electrical hazards

Structural collapse and falling elements


Volatile Organic Compounds

Food Safety

Collisions and Entrapment


Crowding and Space

Water Supply


Carbon monoxide

Entry by Intruders


Position and operability of amenities




The courses of action available to authorities where they have either a duty or a power to act are to:

  • serve an improvement notice requiring remedial works;
  • make a prohibition order, which closes the whole or part of a dwelling or restricts the number of permitted occupants;
  • suspend these types of notice;
  • take emergency action;
  • serve a hazard awareness notice;
  • make a demolition order
  • declare a clearance area

The HHSRS hazard rating is based on the most vulnerable potential occupant.  

The Act retains the powers available to authorities to act in default and prosecute for lack of compliance.  It also enables them to recover charges for enforcement actions.

Download the Housing Health and Safety Rating System from GOV.UK.


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