Housing Conditions

Housing Conditions

The Private Sector Housing team offers advice and guidance on the standards acceptable in all properties including Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO's), social housing and owner occupied dwellings.

Officers can assist with issues including disrepair, fire safety, management of properties, gas and electrical safety and overcrowding. We provide inspection services and enforcement of the regulations.

Complaints about housing conditions

If you think that your property is in disrepair or is unsafe then you can make a complaint to the Private Sector Housing team.

How do I complain?

Initially you will need to contact your landlord if your property is rented, preferably in writing, or your social landlord to inform them there is a problem with repairs or conditions at the property. If after a reasonable time period the landlord refuses to complete repairs then you should contact the Private Sector Housing Team. See how to contact the Private Sector Housing Team below.

What happens if I complain?

An officer will need to visit your property to assess the conditions. If we identify the property requires works because it is unsafe or the property fails to meet other applicable standards then we can approach the landlord on your behalf.

The officers cannot ask the landlord to improve the internal decoration of a property.

We can request that the landlord completes the work to the property either informally or by service of legal notice to ensure compliance with minimum legal housing standards.

If the works are not completed satisfactorily then we may undertake works in default and charge the landlord for the costs incurred or we may take the case to court where the landlord may be fined.

General Standards

It is the landlord's responsibility to ensure that any rented accommodation meets the statutory standards. The Housing Act 2004 introduced the "Housing Health and Safety Rating System" (HHSRS). This is a risk assessment system and identifies if there are any serious hazards at the property which can affect the tenant's health.

The most common hazards in properties are:

  • Excess Cold

  • Falls on Stairs

  • Electrical Safety

  • Fire Safety

Following a risk assessment, the most serious hazards are classed as Category One hazards and the Council has a duty to take action to reduce the risk. The Council will normally take informal action first and if the landlord fails to undertake repairs the Council may serve a notice requiring repairs. For less serious hazards, the Council may decide not to take any action.

Additional Requirements for Landlords

Smoke Alarms

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 require all privately rented residential accommodation to have smoke detectors installed on every floor and a carbon monoxide detector if the property has a solid fue3l appliance (such as an open fire or log burning appliance). This legislation also requires the landlord to test the smoke detectors at the start of every new tenancy to ensure they are working.

Gas installations and appliances must be checked annually by a suitably qualified Gas Safe engineer. Gas Safe Register is the hallmark for gas safety in Great Britain and replaced the CORGI gas registration. Landlord information and consumers information is also available online. For further information or to request hard copies please contact Gas Safe Register on 0800 408 5500. In a gas emergency contact 0800 111 999. Gas installations must also meet the requirements of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.

Electrical Installations should ideally be in compliance with BS7671: 2008 - Requirements for electrical installations, with the work being carried out by an NICEIC (National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting) registered contractor, or other suitable competent person.

Furniture and furnishings provided by the landlord must comply with the provisions contained in the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988.

Space and Room Standards

We also ensure that properties meet the standards for the number of occupants and are not statutorily overcrowded. This is achieved by assessing the number and size of 'habitable' rooms (lounges, bedrooms and dining rooms) present in the accommodation and comparing this to the standards.

Houses in Multiple Occupation

If the property is a House in Multiple Occupation then additional requirements for fire precautions, of escape in case of fire and electrical safety are applicable. Further information is available on the Houses in Multiple Occupation pages.


Contact

Private Sector Housing
tel: 0115 917 3438
Housing
tel: 0115 917 7777