homeSaturday 23rd February 2019

CIEH slams decision not to update housing rating system

William Hatchett05/07/2018 - 12:42

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Sandoul slams decision not to revisit HHSRS
Sandoul slams decision not to revisit HHSRS

CIEH has criticised the government’s response to a select committed report on the private rented sector, following the government’s refusal to take on key recommendations.  

Tamara Sandoul, CIEH policy manager, gave evidence to the HCLG select committee in February, and called for the guidance and evidence base of the housing health and safety rating system (HHSRS) to be updated.

HHSRS, introduced in the Housing Act 2004, assesses risks to health and safety in the home and looks at faults and deficiencies that could cause injury and ill-health to residents. This system is the basis of local authority enforcement in the private rented sector. Not revised since 2006, HHSRS has taken on a higher profile since the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

In a survey of environmental health professionals, published by CIEH in December:

• 97 per cent of environmental health professionals believe said that HHSRS needs updating

• 90 per cent called for an update of the official guidance and better working examples

• 53 per cent said that they had witnessed hazards that could not be addressed with the current system

The government’s response to the committee’s report said: ‘We recognise that the methodology and associated guidance for the HHSRS is now several years old and we will carefully consider whether it needs to be updated. In doing so, we would wish to reflect upon who is best placed, and has the necessary expertise, to carry out such a review.’

Tamara Sandoul, CIEH policy manager, noted that CIEH is campaigning for the government to commit to an update of HHSRS, and its evidence base, to ensure that it stays relevant and up-to-date going forward. She added that the HCLG select committee echoed this call in its final report, acknowledging that the baseline assumptions in the operating guidance for the HHSRS is now 12 years out-of-date.

She said: ‘We are bitterly disappointed that the government has decided not to make a decision on the review and update of the HHSRS, an issue that has surfaced throughout the select committee inquiry into the private rented sector. Housing courts rely on this outdated guidance to make their decisions. We urge the government to commit to a full update of HHSRS and to see how it could be improved going forward.’

She added: ‘We are also disappointed that decisions have not been made on two other key areas of housing safety. The requirement to undertake five-yearly electrical safety inspections and the need to provide a working carbon monoxide alarm for all rented properties with a fuel-burning device have been postponed until a later date. This is simply not good enough and the millions of people currently in the private rented sector expected better.’




Click here to view the CIEH report into HHSRS and here to see the CHLG select committee report into PRS. Follow this link to see the government’s response to the select committee.


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