The Environmental Health Service provides specialist advice and information to homeowners, tenants and landlords on housing standards. This often involves visiting the property to carry out an inspection using the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). This is a risk-based assessment aimed at identifying the most hazardous problems within a property.
Where improvement in housing conditions is not achieved informally with advice and guidance, and where there is a significant risk to the occupier's health and safety, the council may use its enforcement powers under The Housing Act 2004 to bring about a rise in standards to achieve the property complies with the Decent Homes standard.
Privately rented accommodation can be inspected on request, if you are concerned about whether or not it complies with the Decent Homes standards.
All local authorities are under a duty to ensure that regulatory activity is carried out in a way that is transparent, accountable, proportionate and consistent. Regulatory activities include the authority's enforcement duties to deal with poor housing conditions.
Generally our approach is in line with our corporate enforcement policy. Any enforcement action will always be: ·
Fair - Whilst responsibility for compliance with legislation falls to businesses or individuals, we will provide relevant advice and guidance. ·
Consistent - The Service will maintain systems designed to ensure, so far as practicable, that enforcement activities are carried out to a consistent standard and will monitor compliance with our enforcement policy. ·
Transparent - Unless immediate action is required to prevent or respond to a serious breach, or where to do so is likely to defeat the purpose of the proposed enforcement action, when considering formal enforcement action, we will normally discuss the circumstances with those suspected of a breach and take into account their views when deciding on the best approach. ·
Accountable - The Council's complaints policy sets out how to complain or express dissatisfaction about the services we provide.
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 introduced the following requirements for all landlords from 1 October 2015 when the premises are occupied:
(i) A working smoke alarm on each storey of the premises on which there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation.
(ii) A carbon monoxide detector in any room of the premises which is used wholly or partly as living accommodation and contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance.
(iii) Checks are made by or on behalf of the landlord to ensure that each prescribed alarm is in proper working order on the day the tenancy begins.
Where the council has reasonable ground to believe that:
(i) There are no or insufficient number of working smoke alarms or carbon monoxide detectors in the property as required by the regulations or
(ii) The smoke alarms or carbon monoxide detectors were not present or working at the start of the tenancy or licence
the council shall serve on the landlord a remedial notice detailing the actions to be taken to comply. If after 28 days the landlord has not complied with the remedial notice a penalty charge notice may be issued.
The Housing Enforcement Policy provides more detail on how the Council will use the various legal remedies set out in the Housing Act 2004 to deal with poor housing conditions in the rented housing sector. The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations have an accompanying Statement of Principles.
Should you require further information please contact the Environmental Health Protection Team via the contact details on this page.
Tel: 01902 696000