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Disrepair in privately rented housing

If regular maintenance and repair is not carried out then houses can fall into disrepair and become unsafe.

We use the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) to assess disrepair and other hazards in all privately rented housing. Any residential premises should give a safe and healthy environment for anyone who lives there or visits.  

Inspections look at how likely a dangerous incident may take place in the property. It also looks at the health effects of this incident if it happens.  

For example, if a staircase is particularly steep and has no handrail, how likely is it that an elderly person, or a young child, will fall down those stairs within the next year? If the staircase is particularly long or steep and the floor covering at the base of the stairs is a solid surface, like a wooden floor, the chances of a severe injury are higher than falling down a short flight of stairs onto a carpet. Harm can therefore range from relatively minor bruising to a fatal injury. 

A score is given after the inspection which will lead to possible action by the council. If the score is a category 1 hazard the council has to take enforcement action by law even if the occupier does not want this. For a category 2 hazard the council can choose whether to take enforcement action.  

Enforcement action may include the council serving a notice on the landlord.  This will mean they will have to do improvement work or to stop using all or part of the property. 

In some cases the council itself may take immediate action to remove a hazard.  We will recover any costs from the landlord.  For example, if a gas boiler was found to be producing carbon monoxide.

You can ask for an inspection of your property by contacting Private Rented Housing.

If you are a tenant and have a problem with your property, please contact your landlord or agent first to give them the opportunity to resolve the problem. If you do contact us, we will still need to contact them before we determine what action might be necessary.

Important information for council tenants

If you rent a council house, and want to report a repair, please contact Housing Repairs.