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Disrepair in Privately Rented Housing

1. What is disrepair?
2. What are private landlords responsible for?
3. What standards of repair must my rented accommodation be in?
4. What does the rating system say about disrepair in private accommodation?
5. What happens if I report a case of disrepair to the Council?
6. What are the hazards that the rating system recognises?
7. What can the Council do if it recognises any of these hazards in a property?

1. What is disrepair in private housing?

Most rented accommodation in Pembrokeshire is of good quality. However, some landlords do not fulfil their legal obligations by carrying out the regular maintenance and repairs that all properties need from time to time. The Council’s Private sector housing enforcement team has a range of statutory powers that let us deal with this problem.

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2. What are private landlords responsible for?

  • Landlords who let residential accommodation are responsible for ensuring that it is maintained in good repair
  • For a number of years, environmental health professionals have used the Housing Fitness Standard contained within the Housing Act 1985 to decide whether a property is fit to live in.

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3. What standard of repair must my rented accommodation be in?

  • The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS or the Rating System), states what standard of repair a property must be in
  • This system deals with disrepair and other hazards that my be present in residential accommodation
  • The rating system applies to premises occupied both by single households and houses in multiple occupation.

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4. What does the rating system say about repair in private accommodation?

The Rating System says that any residential premises should provide a safe and healthy environment for any potential vulnerable occupier or visitor.

  • Vulnerability for the purposes of the Rating System is based purely on age, not on any other factors such as, physical disability
  • The most vulnerable groups for the purposes of the Rating System are the very young and the elderly
  • The Council will usually look at whether accommodation is occupied by someone from one of the vulnerable groups above when deciding whether to take any enforcement action against a landlord.

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5. What happens if I report a case of disrepair to the Council?

  • The Council will carry out a survey of the property
  • During the survey, the inspecting officer will first assess the likelihood of an incident occurring in the property within the next 12 months. See the list below of hazards that the rating system recognises.
  • They will then look at the health effects on the occupant or visitor.
  • Each inspection will result in a numerical score that will determine the course of action that the Council will take. If the score is above a certain level, the Council will have a legal obligation to take enforcement action, even if the occupier does not want this.
  • If an inspection identifies a hazard that results in a relatively low score, the Council can decide what action to take.

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6. What are the hazards that the rating system recognises?

Falls on stairs is just one of the 29 hazards that the Rating System uses. The hazards are subdivided into 4 different categories:

Physiological Requirements

  • Damp and mould growth
  • Excess cold
  • Excess heat
  • Asbestos
  • Biocides
  • Carbon monoxide and fuel combustion
  • Products
  • Lead
  • Radiation
  • Uncombusted fuel gas

Protection against Infection

  • Domestic hygiene, pest and refuse
  • Food safety
  • Personal hygiene, sanitation and drainage
  • Water supply

Protection against Accidents

  • Falls associated with baths etc.
  • Falls on level surfaces etc.
  • Falling on stairs etc.
  • Falling between levels
  • Electrical hazards
  • Fire
  • Flames, hot surfaces etc
  • Collisions and entrapment
  • Explosions
  • Position and operability of amenities etc.
  • Structural collapse and falling elements

Psychological Requirements

  • Crowding and Space
  • Entry by intruders
  • Lighting
  • Noise

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7. What can the Council do if it recognises any of the above hazards in a property?

  • The Housing Act 2004 gives Local Authorities powers to take action if any of the hazards listed above are present in a property, and are deemed to pose a significant risk to the most vulnerable potential occupant.
  • The Act allows the Council to require the landlord to make improvements to the property.
  • In some cases, the Council will take immediate remedial action themselves to remove a hazard and recover any costs from the landlord. A typical example would be where a gas boiler was found to be imminently dangerous, i.e. producing carbon monoxide.

How Do I Find Out More?

Contact Information:
If you would like to find out more or require any advice, please contact;

Mr David Petrie Senior Environmental Officer
(01437) 775616
Email: Dave.petrie@pembrokeshire.gov.uk

Mr Hugh Gibbon Renewals Inspector (Enforcement)
(01437) 775615
Email: Hugh.Gibbon@pembrokeshire.gov.uk

Hazel James Technical Clerk
(01437) 775627
Email: Hazel.James@pembrokeshire.gov.uk

Or write to: The Private Sector Housing Team, 2nd Floor North Wing, County Hall, Haverfordwest, SA61 1TP.

ID: 13305 Revised: 9/2/2017