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Household Support Fund

Due to predicted high demand, applications for the Household Support Fund have now closed. Further support can be found on our Cost of Living and Household Support pages

Housing health and safety rating system (HHSRS)

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is the government's system for assessing the health and safety risks in dwellings, and is designed as a replacement for the old fitness standard used by Environmental Health Officers in Private Sector Housing to inspect properties in the private sector within Dudley.

The principle of HHSRS is that any residential premises (including the structure, means of access, and any associated outbuilding, garden or yard) should provide a safe and healthy environment for any potential occupier or visitor. HHSRS is a risk assessment process and is comprehensive in its coverage of key health and safety risks in dwellings. In very broad terms, the Rating System works by assessing the risk associated with certain home hazards and if the likelihood of harm is significant the Council may take action to ensure that the risk is removed or reduced.

The hazards

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) considers the following hazards:

Hazard Description Health Effects
Damp and mould growth Health threats due to dust mites, mould or fungal including mental and social wellbeing health threats associated with damp, humid and mouldy conditions Allergies, asthma, effects of toxins from mould and fungal infections
Excess cold Threats to health from cold indoor temperatures. A healthy indoor temperature is 18oC to 21oC Respiratory conditions: flu, pneumonia and bronchitis Cardiovascular conditions: heart attacks and strokes
Excess heat Threats due to high indoor temperatures Dehydration, trauma, stroke, cardiovascular and respiratory
Asbestos and MMF Exposure to asbestos fibres and Manufactured Mineral Fibres (MMF) Asbestos: Damage to lungs MMF: Damage to skin, eyes and lungs
Biocides Threats to health from chemicals used to treat timber and mould growth Risk from breathing in, skin contact and swallowing of the chemical
Carbon Monoxide and fuel combustion products Excess levels of carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and smoke Dizziness, nausea, headaches, disorientation, unconsciousness and breathing problems
Lead Threats to health from lead ingestion from paint, water pipes, soil and fumes from leaded petrol Lead poisoning causing nervous disorders, mental health and blood production issues
Radiation Health threats from radon gas and its daughters, primarily airborne but also radon dissolved in water Lung cancer caused by exposure, which increases with amount and length of exposure
Uncombusted fuel gas Health threats from radon gas and its daughters, primarily airborne but also radon dissolved in water Lung cancer caused by exposure, which increases with amount and length of exposure
Volatile organic compounds Threat to health from a diverse group of organic chemicals including formaldehyde that are gaseous at room temperature and can be found in a wide variety of materials in the home Allergies, irritation to the eyes, nose and skin, headaches, nausea, dizziness and drowsiness
Crowding and space Hazards associated with lack of space for living, sleeping and normal household or family life Psychological distress and mental disorders, increased risk of hygiene issues, accidents and personal space and privacy compromised
Entry by intruders Problems keeping a property secure against unauthorised entry and maintaining defensible space Fear of burglary occurring, stress and anguish caused by burglary and injuries caused by the intruder
Lighting Threats to physical and mental health associated with inadequate natural or artificial light, including the psychological effects associated with the view from the property through glazing Depression and psychological effects due to lack of natural light. Eyestrain from glare and inadequate light
Noise Threats to physical and mental health due to exposure to noise within the property or within its curtilage Psychological and physiological changes resulting from lack of sleep, poor concentration, headaches and anxiety
Domestic hygiene, pests and refuse Health hazards due to poor design, layout and construction making it hard to keep clean and hygienic, attracting pests and inadequate and unhygienic provision for storing household waste Stomach and intestinal disease, infection, asthma, allergies, disease from rats and physical hazards
Food safety Threats of infection from poor provision and facilities to store, prepare and cook food Stomach and intestinal disease, diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach upset and dehydration
Personal hygiene, sanitation and drainage Threats of infections and threat to mental health associated with personal hygiene, including personal and clothes washing facilities, sanitation and drainage Stomach and intestinal disease, skin infections and depression
Water supply Threats to health from contamination by bacteria, parasites, viruses and chemical pollutants due to the quality of water supply for drinking household use such as cooking, washing and sanitation Dehydration, fatigue, headaches, dry skin, bladder infections and legionnaires disease
Falls associated with baths Falls associated with a bath, shower or similar facility Physical injuries: cuts, lacerations, swellings and bruising
Falls on level surfaces Falls on any level surface such as floor, yards and paths, including falls associated with trip steps, thresholds or ramps where the change in level is less than 300mm Physical injuries: bruising, fractures, head, brain and spinal injuries
Falls associated with stairs and steps Falls associated with stairs and ramps where the change in level is greater than 300mm. It includes internal stairs or ramps within a property, external steps or ramps associated with the property, access to the property and to shared facilities or means of escape from fire and falls over stairs, ramp or step guarding Physical injuries: bruising, fractures, head, brain and spinal injuries
Falls between levels Falls from one level to another, inside or outside a dwelling where the difference is more than 300mm. Including falls from balconies, landings or out of windows Physical injuries
Electrical hazards Hazards from electric shock and electricity burns Electric shock and burns
Fire Threats to health from exposure to uncontrolled fire and associated smoke. It includes injuries from clothing catching fire, a common injuring when trying to put a fire out Burns, being overcome by smoke or death
Flames, hot surfaces and materials Burns or injuries caused by contact with a hot flame or fire, hot objects and non-water based liquids. Scalds caused by contact with hot liquids and vapours Burns, scalds, permanent scarring and death
Collision and entrapment Risks of physical injuries from trapping body parts in architectural features such as trapping fingers in doors and windows and colliding with objects such as windows, doors and low ceilings Physical injuries such as cuts and bruising to the body
Explosions Threats from the blast of an explosion, from debris generated by the blast and from partial or total collapse of a building as a result of the explosion Strain and sprain injuries
Structural collapse and falling elements The threat of the dwelling collapsing or part of the fabric being displaced or falling due to inadequate fixing or disrepair or as a result of adverse weather conditions Physical injuries

What action can be taken?

Any action the Council may take will be based on a three-stage consideration:

  • the hazard rating determined under an HHSRS assessment

  • whether the Council has a duty or power to act; and

  • the Council's judgement as to the most appropriate course of action to deal with the hazard

There is a choice of action available to the Council, including the following:

  • serve an improvement notice requiring essential repairs or improvements

  • make a prohibition order, which closes the whole or part of a dwelling or restricts the number of occupiers

  • take emergency action where there is an imminent risk to the occupiers

  • serve a hazard awareness notice informing interested parties on the presence of hazards