How we respond to complaints relating to the safety of privately let houses
Barrow Borough Council will inspect privately rented dwellings, normally when it receives a complaint from the tenant. If conditions in the properties inspected are not up to standard, the landlord or owner is required to improve them
Since April 2006 all homes have been judged under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). This replaced the fitness standard as the method of assessment of the potential risk to health and safety from defective or deficient dwellings.
HHSRS is based on the likelihood of an occurrence that could cause harm and the probable severity of all harm.
There are 29 types of hazard which may be considered, several of which are new, such as, thermal efficiency, security and means of escape from fire in all dwellings including those in single occupancy.
Landlords are advised to make sure they inspect and risk assess their properties on an annual basis. This type of inspection and risk assessment needs to be undertaken by someone who has been trained to do it in accordance with Government guidance. Any landlord who needs information about contractors who can undertake this type of inspection should contact the Private Housing Team for details.
The Act strengthens the Council's enforcement powers and makes it possible to take emergency action when appropriate.
It also gives Councils the power to charge for enforcement action. The Council introduced its charges in 2008 and further details are available here. These are subject to change from time to time.
General guidance for the public and more detailed guidance for landlords on the operation of the HHSRS are available from the Department of Communities and Local Government.