Information on property hazards and safety requirements.
New electrical safety regulations came in on the 1st June 2020 and require landlords to have the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested by a qualified and competent person at least every 5 years. Landlords have to provide a copy of the electrical safety report to their tenants, and to their local authority if requested.
The Regulations apply to new tenancies from 1 July 2020 and existing tenancies from 1 April 2021. Full details are provided in the Government guidance.
Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)
The HHSRS is the risk assessment based method used by inspecting officers to assess housing conditions. It assesses the risk to health and safety posed by hazards such as falls, fire, cold and damp and mould.
Officers will assess the likelihood of someone being harmed over the next 12 months and how serious that harm could be. The most serious hazards are known as Category 1 hazards and the Council has a duty to take action on these. Less serious hazards are known as Category 2 hazards and the Council has the power to take action where it feels necessary.
When taking action the Council will follow its Housing Enforcement Policy. In most cases work will be requested informally. If the landlord does not take timely action then a formal enforcement notice is likely to be served. We will charge for serving a formal notice and failure to comply is an offence, liable to a fine or prosecution.
More information is available in the HHSRS Landlords Guide.
Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
Under the smoke and carbon monoxide alarm regulations, at least one working smoke alarm must be fitted on each storey of a rented property and, a carbon monoxide alarm must be fitted in every room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. coal fire, wood burner).
More information on the smoke and carbon monoxide alarm is available from the Government's Q&A page.
These requirements are the minimum, and further fire precautions may be required where a hazard is found or where the property is occupied as an HMO. Where a hazard is assessed then the Private Sector Housing team will require fire precautions in line with the National Housing Fire Safety Guidance. More information on hazards (assessed under the HHSRS) is given above.
Further advice for landlords and letting agents is available from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service.
Help and advice
- For advice on standards and conditions contact the Private Sector Housing team on 0300 303 8588; firstname.lastname@example.org
- For advice on tenancy matters contact the Housing Options Team on 0300 303 8588; email@example.com
- Advice on standards in Houses in Multiple Occupation is available from the HMO Standards web page.