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Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)

What is the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)?

This is a new approach to the way in which Councils assess housing conditions.

It uses a risk assessment approach. It provides a system to enable risks to be assessed and has been introduced by the Housing Act 2004, which came into force on 6 April 2006, replacing the "Fitness Standard".

Why the new system?

The fitness standard did not deal with many of the hazards that affected health and safety; Assessments made under the fitness standard were 'property based' and did not directly consider the effect of the particular defect or omission, on the occupant or visitor. The HHSRS on the other hand addresses all the key issues that affect health and safety.

There 29 hazards in total. It provides an analysis of just how hazardous a property is and includes evidence and statistical information to assist inspectors in making their judgements.

Each year on average, housing conditions are implicated in up to 50,000 deaths and around 0.5 million illnesses requiring medical attention. These statistics and many others form part of the evidence base of the system and are drawn from extensive research in the UK (in this case the Home Accident Surveillance System). The fitness standard did not address many of the conditions that caused these deaths and injuries.