Housing Standards

What we do

Housing Standards deal primarily with private rented housing, reacting to complaints from tenants about poor housing conditions and properties that may be hazardous to live in.

The service aims to improve standards of health and safety in private rented property generally, and Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

Assessing housing conditions

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is used to assess housing conditions.

The HHSRS is a risk based approach to identifying defects in dwellings and of evaluating the potential effect of any defects on the health and safety of occupants.

Hazards are assessed on the likelihood of an occurrence that could result in harm and the potential severity of the outcome if it did occur. A formula is used to score the hazard and this will determine the category of the hazard.

The Council has a duty to deal with category one hazards and a discretionary power to deal with category two hazards. Actions include informal hazard awareness notices, formal improvement and prohibition notices, plus specific provisions for deal with urgent hazards.

Any action taken by the Council will be in accordance with the Council's Housing Enforcement Policy.

Landlords of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) also have additional responsibilities relating to the management of the property.

Tenants should initially report any defects to the landlord in writing, giving them the opportunity to deal with the problem. If the matter is not rectified within a reasonable timescale, they should contact us for further assistance.

For further information on HHSRS, please see Reducing the Risks (a short leaflet published by the ODPM), or for more detailed information see Guidance for Landlords and Property Related Professionals.

What we can do to help you

The majority of complaints come from people living in private rented housing. Issues we can help you with include:

Poor housing conditions

Private sector housing stock is inspected by Housing Standards staff to ensure that it provides a safe and healthy environment in which to live. An assessment is carried out under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) and where unacceptable hazards exist, action is taken to minimise them. Usually this involves the owner or landlord carrying out necessary repairs or improvements.

Help and assistance is available for those who are elderly or disabled and on low income from Homelink.

Overcrowding

A property is overcrowded if either the room standard or the space standard is exceeded. It can also be assessed using the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS).

Private Sector Housing Standards

The Council works with private landlords to promote good quality and safe rented accommodation. These standards provide guidance on how landlords can meet the wide range of health, safety and welfare requirements relating to private rented accommodation

Bedroom Requirements for Household Members

Household members

Bedroom need

Adult co-habiting couple

1 double bedroom

Persons over 16

1 single bedroom each

Two children of the same sex aged up to 16 years

1 double (twin) bedroom

Children of different sexes aged up to 16 years

1 single bedroom for each child