Private housing sector - standards

As well as being a provider of housing as a landlord, and having a strategic role in overseeing the provision for housing in Harlow, the Council has regulatory responsibilities for private sector housing in the Harlow district, and in some circumstances can provide assistance.

If you live in a privately rented property and are concerned about its condition please contact the Environmental Health Team through Contact Harlow.

Housing Health and Safety Rating System

Qualified members of Harlow Council’s Environmental Health Team use the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), introduced under the Housing Act 2004, to carry out risk based assessments of individual homes in Harlow, to make sure that properties are safe for the people who live there.

If you own a property and rent it out, the Council may decide to do an HHSRS inspection because:

  • your tenants have asked for an inspection
  • the Council has done a survey of local properties and thinks your property might be hazardous

HHSRS inspection

When carrying out an HHSRS assessment the inspecting officer will consider each of twenty-nine specific hazards: how likely they are to be relevant, and how severe their effects might be. Scores for likelihood and severity together give a numerical score for that particular hazard. Each hazard is considered in isolation: scores from individual hazards are not combined.

You must take action on enforcement notices from the Council. You also have the right to appeal enforcement notices.

The Council can do any of the following if they find a serious hazard:

  • issue an improvement notice
  • fix the hazard themselves and bill you for the cost
  • stop you or anyone else from using part or all of the property

Who does it affect?

All owners and landlords, including social landlords, should be aware that any inspections of their property will be made using HHSRS and that they are advised to assess their property before the inspection. The assessment will determine whether there are serious hazards that may cause a health or safety risk to tenants identify where improvements need to be carried out to reduce the risks.

Inspection hazards

The twenty-nine hazards that are considered during an inspection are:

  1. Dampness and mould
  2. Excess cold
  3. Excess heat
  4. Asbestos
  5. Biocides
  6. Carbon Dioxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, Sulphur Dioxide
  7. Lead
  8. Radiation
  9. Uncombusted fuel gas
  10. Volatile organic compounds
  11. Crowding and space
  12. Entry by intruders
  13. Lighting
  14. Noise
  15. Domestic hygiene, pests, refuse
  16. Food safety
  17. Hygiene, sanitation, drainage
  18. Domestic water supply
  19. Falls associated with baths
  20. Falls on level
  21. Falls associated with stairs and steps
  22. Falls between levels
  23. Electrical hazards
  24. Fire
  25. Hot surfaces and materials
  26. Collision and entrapment
  27. Explosions
  28. Ergonomics
  29. Structural collapse and falling elements