Coronavirus (COVID-19) information and advice

Recycling and waste collections after the Spring Bank Holiday on Monday 25 May will all be one day later. Check the Somerset Waste Partnership website for details

Private renting - health and safety standards

If you are a tenant or a landlord/agent of a private rented home, any issues or problems (known as hazards) with the home that may arise are assessed by us in relation to how they could affect the health and safety of tenants. This assessment is known as the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). As part of this we will consider:-

  • how likely it is something could cause harm
  • how serious it would be
  • any extra risk to children and older people

Any hazards are then rated either as serious ones, known as category 1, or less serious, known as category 2.

We will take action where we find a category 1 and we may choose to if we find a category 2 hazard.

The landlord/agent guide on the HHSRS

Where we find a problem, we with work with the landlord or their agent to make the property safe and give them the opportunity to put things right, unless it’s very serious and we need to take immediate action.

If this approach doesn’t work, then we will take formal action to make sure the property is safe.

Formal action is usually a legal notice which is served to ensure the landlord fixes the problem and puts it right. For most notices, we will charge the landlord for us serving a notice, known as a ‘notice charge’ of £141.56.

Sometimes we may arrange the work ourselves and charge the landlord back the cost if it is likely that someone living in the home could be seriously harmed imminently. This is called Emergency Remedial Action.

Where a legal notice does not put things right (the landlord or their agent does not do the works) then we will look to prosecute or, in some cases, such as not improving a property where an Improvement Notice has been issued to the landlord, to issue a fixed penalty notice (up to £20,000 per a notice). In some cases, at the same time we may again do the work ourselves and charge back the cost to the landlord.

We will always follow our enforcement policy in any action that we take to resolve problems and issues. A copy or our policy is available upon request.

A tenant living in a home at the time when we issue an Improvement Notice or another type of notice known as a Prohibition Notice, can apply for the rent to be paid back for a period of up to 12 months. This is known as a Rent Repayment Order. A tenant cannot claim rent paid by housing benefit/universal credit, this will be claimed by the local authority. If a tenant receiving housing benefit/universal credit makes an application for a Rent Repayment Order the money will be awarded to the council. The form to apply and guidance and can be found on the Gov.uk website.

If you are a tenant and have a problem or issue with your home that needs fixing then you must write (email, letter or text) to your landlord/agent first so they get the chance to fix it. Chase up the repair with them if they don’t take any action. If your landlord/agent does not fix it then report it to us with a copy of what you have sent your landlord/agent and we will follow it up. Fill out a general enquiries online form to report to us.