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Properties Required Urgently in the Plymouth Area

Posted on September 28th, 2023 -

PATH (Plymouth Access to Housing) are seeking properties in Plymouth for people in need of housing. There are many families with children and single people in temporary accommodation looking for a home.

All residential properties considered, rooms, flats, HMOs and houses.

There are numerous benefits and letting options for landlords who work with PATH including;

  • Free face to face advice about letting options
  • Funding may be offered to bring properties up to a ‘Decent Home Standard’

For more information please contact PATH;

easylet@pathdevon.org     01752 293719

Free Landlord Webinar – by Martyn Taylor of Ashley Taylors Legal – The Changing HHSRS & Damp/Mould Guides

Posted on September 22nd, 2023 -

When: Tuesday 26 September 2023  11:30am – 12.20pmTopic: Changes to the HHSRS and the new Damp and Mould GuidelinesRegister in advance for this webinar:

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_epS3xNJiQ26SSn0cI9lQWgAfter registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.




EPC ‘C’ Deadline – U-Turn Announced in Prime Minister Speech

Posted on September 21st, 2023 -

The Prime Minister announced that the proposed plans, which would require landlords to upgrade private rented properties to EPC band C by 2025 or 2028, would be scrapped. The sector was awaiting confirmation following a consultation under Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) Regulations about when properties would be required to meet EPC band C for all new and existing tenancies.

This move leaves landlords with no long-term clarity around what is expected of them and by when energy efficiency upgrades would now be required. It is important to realise that the current standard is for rental properties to be E or above- this still remains in place. It was unclear in the speech whether the ambition on non-domestic building is also being delayed.

Read more here; https://www.financialreporter.co.uk/sunak-scraps-epc-regulations-industry-reacts.html

SWLA Meet Councillor Alison Raynsford

Posted on September 21st, 2023 -

It’s been a while since we last met with Alison, so we had lots of catching up to do. Items on the agenda included the lack of housing both in the Private Rented Sector and Student Sector, unrealistically low Local Housing Allowance rates, the high number of possession cases and landlords exiting the market (due to tax changes, mortgage rate changes and legislation changes).

We invited Alison to our next face to face Landlord Accreditation course which will be held in Plymouth in February.

How to Prepare for Your Self Assessment Tax Return

Posted on September 14th, 2023 -

Article by GoSimpleTax

It’s an all too familiar scene for many sole traders, landlords and other Self Assessment taxpayers. Despite leaving it until a week or two before the online-filing deadline on 31 January, you’re not too worried about completing your Self Assessment tax return. What could possibly go wrong?

Then you make a start, believing it will take you no time to get it all done and dusted, but you soon come to an abrupt stop. You haven’t got all of the necessary information to hand. You start to feel frustrated.

The minutes turn to hours and you have to put off making any progress with your Self Assessment tax return, because you need to go away and get together key information. You leave it for a few days. The online-filing deadline gets closer and you begin to worry. You forgot that as with many things in life – sound preparation is key to successfully completing your Self Assessment tax return. So, what’s the best way to prepare for doing your Self Assessment tax return?

What if you’re not already registered?

  • If you need to send a tax return to report taxable income to HMRC via Self Assessment, you’ll need to register if you did not send a tax return in the previous tax year – even if you’ve sent one before that.
  • You must register for Self Assessment before 5 October following the end of the tax year (5 April) in which you earned taxable income. If you do not register for Self assessment, you risk having to pay a fine.
  • You can register for Self Assessment via government website GOV.UK. The registration rules are slightly different for different types of Self Assessment taxpayer.
  • Once registered, you can fill in and file your annual Self Assessment tax return at any time following the end of the tax year (5 April), before the filing deadline (31 January for online filing, which is how 96.8% of taxpayers submit their tax returns).


How to prepare to fill in your Self Assessment tax return

1 Decide how you’re going to file

About 12m people file a Self Assessment tax return each year and only 385,000 of them (3.2%) use paper forms. HMRC wants to phase out paper Self Assessment tax returns as much as possible, preferring for taxpayers to keep digital tax records and file their tax returns online. Completing a paper tax return takes longer and it’s a pretty arduous task, while mistakes can be more likely, which could mean you’ll need to start again.

Filling in and filing your Self Assessment tax return online is quicker and easier, with mistakes less likely, especially if you use Self Assessment tax return-filing software. Automatic prompts tell you which figures you need to enter and where, which provides additional peace of mind and may even help to ensure that you don’t pay too much tax.

Need to know! Some Self Assessment taxpayers can only use filing software to submit their tax return digitally, one example being expats with UK rental income to report. Filing software can cost just £50 or so for the tax year.


2 Know what supplementary pages you need to submit

As well as the main SA100 tax return, you may have to fill out and submit supplementary pages to report taxable income and tax expenses. Different types of taxable income have different supplementary pages, which each have their own number. The most common examples include SA103 Self-employment, SA105 UK Property and SA108 Capital Gains Summary. If you have more than one self-employed role that generates taxable income, you’ll need to complete an SA103 for each.

Need to know! Supplementary pages can be downloaded from government website GOV.UK or conveniently accessed via Self Assessment filing software.


3 Make sure that you know your UTR

In your SA100, you’ll need to include your 10-digit UTR (ie Unique Taxpayer Reference), which you’re given when you register for Self Assessment. It will be stated on your previous tax return, if you’ve submitted one. You’ll also need to state your National Insurance number.

Need to know! If you can’t find your UTR, you can also call HMRC on 0300 200 3310 for assistance. You’ll need to have some information to hand for security questions, such as your personal details and your National Insurance number.


4 Get together other vital information

When filling in your Self Assessment tax return other information you need can include:

  • an accurate summary of taxable income from self-employment, renting out property or land, overseas income taxable in the UK
  • if relevant, details of any previous loss made that you wish to offset against income made within the tax year to which your tax return refers
  • summary of income earned from employment, as well as taxable benefits (you may be able to get these from your P60, P45 if you left during the tax year or a P11D form from your employer)
  • details of taxable interest received from your bank as well as any taxable share dividend payments
  • details of any income you’ve received as part of a business partnership (one partner should also file a tax return and SA104 supplementary page for the partnership)
  • any taxable state benefits you’ve received, as well as any taxable pension payments
  • details of any taxable capital gains you’ve received after disposing of assets (eg a business, personal possessions worth £6,000 or more, etc)
  • information about any Gift Aid received (you can claim tax back for this)

Need to know! The above information should be relevant only to the tax year in which you are reporting taxable income to HMRC.


5 Get your expenses in order

You’ll also need summaries of your “allowable expenses”, which are costs that you can claim as tax expenses that relate to taxable income earned from self-employment, renting out property, overseas income, a business partnership, etc.

Claiming allowable expenses will reduce your tax bill. If you’ve been organised and you’ve been recording your allowable expenses throughout the tax year in a spreadsheet or accounting software, this will be simple to do. If not, having to wade through piles of sales receipts, invoices and bank/credit card statements could take a while, which is another reason why you should complete your tax return long before the filing deadline.

Need to know! If you’re not already doing so, start recording your costs into a spreadsheet or accounting software regularly, so that claiming them as tax expenses becomes much less time-consuming, while also giving you a better idea of your spending and expenses.


6 Find out which personal tax allowances you can claim

Personal tax allowances are amounts you can earn or receive in income without paying tax. The main UK personal tax allowances are available to sole traders and landlords, while others are available only in certain circumstances. HMRC won’t tell you if you can claim a personal tax allowance, you must find out for yourself if you plan to fill out your own Self Assessment tax return. The most common personal tax allowances are:

  • the personal allowance (£12,570 a year for the 2023/24 tax year)
  • the trading allowance (£1,000 a year, if you don’t claim allowable expenses)
  • the property allowance (£1,000 a year, if you don’t claim allowable expenses)
  • dividend allowance (£1,000 a year for the 2023/24 tax year)
  • marriage allowance (you can transfer up to £1,260 of your Personal Allowance to your spouse or civil partner, which can reduce their tax by up to £250 in the tax year or vice versa).


Don’t wait – file now!

Getting your Self Assessment tax return completed and filed as soon as possible is highly recommended. You can file any time after the end of the tax year (5 April) in which you received taxable income, there really is no need to leave it until weeks, days or hours before the online-filing deadline (midnight on 31 January).


Filing early doesn’t mean you’ll have to pay your tax bill sooner, but you will be able to find out how much tax you owe. You may even find out that you’re due a tax rebate. Getting your Self Assessment tax return out of the way earlier could certainly make your life much less stressful.



 About GoSimpleTax

Income, Expenses and tax submission all in one. GoSimpleTax will provide you with tips that could save you money on allowances and expenses you might have missed.

Our software submits directly to HMRC and is the digital solution for Landlords to record income, expenses and file their self-assessment giving hints on savings along the way.

Covering all self-assessment pages, not just property, GoSimpleTax does all the calculations for you.


Article by GoSimpleTax

SWLA General Speaker Meeting

Posted on September 14th, 2023 -

Wednesday 18th October 2023 @ 7.30pm Future Inn Plymouth, members and their guests welcome

Membership Renewals

Posted on September 14th, 2023 -

It’s that time of year again! 2023-2024 membership renewal payments are due by 01 November 2023: £50.00.

How to pay-

BACS – (Please quote your name/membership number as the reference) to:

Account Name: SWLA             Sort Code: 20-68-10                 Account Number: 50498610

Cheque – payable to ‘SWLA’:

SWLA, 30 Dale Road, Plymouth, PL4 6PD

Card – You can call the office and pay by card over the telephone. Opening hours 10am – 3pm Monday to Friday.

A receipt for your renewal payment will be sent by email.

National Trading Standards Issue New Property Advertising Guidelines

Posted on September 14th, 2023 -

In a bid to enhance transparency and coherence in the property advertising landscape, the National Trading Standards Estate and Lettings Agency Team (NTSELAT) has introduced fresh guidelines focusing on terminology used in property advertisements, particularly in the realm of lettings.

The heart of the guidance revolves around three specific terms that are frequently employed within the context of lettings.

  1. Under Offer: According to NTSELAT, this term should be applied to a property that has received an offer under consideration by the landlord. However, the property is still typically available on the market, implying that further offers could be entertained based on the landlord’s instructions. The use of this description is only appropriate until the offer is either accepted or declined.
  2. Let Agreed: In this context, NTSELAT defines “let agreed” as a property where the landlord has tentatively agreed to enter into a rental agreement with a prospective tenant. However, this agreement is contingent upon subsequent checks and referencing. The utilization of this term does not hinge on a holding deposit having been received from the prospective tenant.
  3. Let: This term refers to a property where both the landlord and tenant have formally entered into a binding rental agreement.

The scope of the guidance also extends to terms employed in both lettings and sales scenarios:

  1. New On The Market: This phrase pertains to a property that has not been advertised since its last sale or letting. The description should be reserved for a short timeframe.
  2. New Instruction: This term designates a property where an agent has recently received instructions to market, even if the property may have been previously offered for sale by a different agent without a successful sale or letting. This description is applicable only for a brief period.
  3. New and Exclusive: Referring to a property that is either new to the market or a new instruction, and is exclusively listed with a particular agent or portal. While the term ‘new’ should be used temporarily, ‘exclusive’ can be sustained as long as it remains valid.
  4. New Method of Sale/Let: This descriptor is employed for a property that is now being advertised for sale or letting using an alternative method compared to the initial advertisement, such as transitioning to an auction or sealed bid. This categorization is appropriate only for a short span.
  5. Reduced: This term is reserved for a property that has undergone a recent price reduction. Any reduction in price should be genuine and adhere to the Chartered Trading Standards Institute’s ‘Guidance for Traders on Pricing Practices.’

By addressing key terminologies in property advertising, NTSELAT’s fresh guidelines aim to foster greater clarity, mitigate confusion, and establish a more standardized approach to property transactions. As the industry adapts to these guidelines, stakeholders can anticipate a smoother and more transparent experience in the property market.

Article by NetRent

Cannabis Cultivation: What’s the harm?

Posted on September 14th, 2023 -

On the same day the national news headlines featured the seizure of £130 million in cannabis plants across the UK, the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SWROCU) was exhibiting at the Rent Smart Devon landlord event, Exeter Racecourse, to spread the word amongst landlords and letting agents about the dangers of cannabis cultivations within domestic properties.

Any property can be vulnerable to cannabis cultivation but there’s a concerning statistic that 94% of cannabis farms are located in domestic properties.

The SWROCU were one of many law enforcement agencies involved in the national operation targeting organised crime groups (OCGs) involved in growing cannabis. In the South West alone, the operation led to 67 arrests and £6.8 million worth of cannabis and weapons being seized.

OCGs involved in cannabis cultivation not only drive violence and antisocial behaviour in our communities, they also endanger the lives of people in neighbouring properties. Crucially, they exploit vulnerable people who are the victims of modern slavery, human trafficking, and organised immigration crime.

As well as actively pursuing the criminals involved, the SWROCU want to raise awareness of the hazards these growers pose by substantially increasing the risk of fires within properties. Often the electricity meter is bypassed, and electrical circuits overloaded to support the high-intensity lights, fans, and irrigation systems.

If you suspect your property may be being used to grow cannabis, ask yourself the following:

  • Does your tenant wish to pay cash up front for the rent and/or ongoing instalments in cash?
  • Does your tenant ask for complete privacy or prevent any inspection of the property even when given reasonable notice?
  • Is mould, condensation, and excess humidity visible from outside of the property?
  • Has the tenant installed extra security measures which may seem excessive, such as an increased number of locks or window bars?
  • Have neighbours made any complaints surrounding noise and light pollution?
  • Have windows and vents been sealed or blocked to prevent both heat in the property and the smell of cannabis escaping?
  • Have there been any complaints about disruptive visitors to the property late at night or at other odd times in the day?

The consequences for landlords in both financial and legal terms by not taking action can be catastrophic. Therefore, it’s really important to report any suspicions you have about your own property or those in neighbouring premises to your local police force online or via 101.

If you would like to remain completely anonymous, you can report any information to the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org. The guarantee of anonymity means calls or online information can’t be traced and the only person who knows you called will be you.

Along with the South West’s five police forces and working with the Police and Crime Commissioners and independent charity Crimestoppers, SWROCU will continue to target and disrupt OCGs who are causing misery and harm in our communities, but they can only do that with the information provided by the community.

Article by the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SWROCU)

01 October 2023, the Next Stage of the Building Safety Act Will Apply

Posted on September 14th, 2023 -

This has implications for landlords who have control over the communal parts of buildings (the responsible person). Typically, in the PRS this will mean landlords who let properties by the room.

Section 156 of the Building Safety Act updates the requirements around the performance of fire risk assessments and the provision of information to tenants about fire safety risks.

The new requirements mean that the responsible person must:

Record their completed fire risk assessment in writing, and in full (previously only specific information was required to be recorded).

Record the identity of the individual or company that has performed the fire risk assessment.

Demonstrate how fire safety is managed in the premises.

Share their contact information, including a UK based address with premises other responsible persons (if applicable) and the tenants.

Take reasonable steps to identify any other responsible persons in the same building.

Share all relevant fire safety information with incoming responsible persons when giving up control of the property.

Provide tenants with relevant fire safety information in a format that is easily understood.

The relevant fire safety information for tenants is:

The risks identified by the risk assessment.

The preventive and protective measures in place.

The name of the responsible person and a UK address where they, or their representative, can accept notices and documents.

The identity of any person appointed to assist with the risk assessment.

The identity of any competent persons nominated by the responsible person.

Any risks informed to the responsible person.

Any other matters specified in regulations made by the relevant authority.

Please note that, for landlords in England, this is in addition to the information that you are already required to provide because of the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022.

Competency of Fire Risk Assessors

Further updates around the competency of fire risk assessors employed by the landlord are also expected in the future. No date for this has been set but, in practice, most HMO landlords already employ a qualified professional to perform these risk assessments.

Article abridged from NRLA

HMO Landlords

Posted on September 13th, 2023 -

A message from Plymouth City Council – 

We are fast approaching the anniversary for HMO Licensing Legislation changes that took place in October 2018. As you will be aware, those changes introduced Licensing across a wider spectrum of property type and five years have now passed. Most of the properties where a Licence was issued following this change are due for renewal on the 30th September 2023 (some in October and November). If you are unsure please check your licenses. To assist in this and in preparation, Plymouth City Council have been issuing early renewal reminders – hopefully some of you may have received these already. If your Licence is due for renewal please visit our website by following this link to renew:


HHSRS to be Simplified as Part of Private Rented Sector Reforms

Posted on September 13th, 2023 -

1. Background

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is a tool used to assess hazards in residential premises.

The HHSRS is risk-based and covers a range of 29 potential hazards, which are set out in Schedule 1 of the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (England) Regulations 2005. The HHSRS operates by evaluating the potential risk of harm to an actual or potential occupier from their living environment and is a means of rating the seriousness of any hazard identified. An HHSRS assessment does this by categorising a hazard by seriousness, generating a numerical score that falls into 1 of 10 hazard bands, with band J being the safest and band A being the most dangerous.

The HHSRS itself does not set a minimum standard, so the categorisation of hazards was introduced in order to do so. Hazards scored at bands A to C are ‘category 1’, bands D to J are ‘category 2’.

If a local council carries out an HHSRS assessment and identifies a category 1 hazard they must take enforcement action under the Housing Act 2004. The form this enforcement action should take is set out in section 6 of the Act.

The HHSRS also forms part of the Decent Homes Standard, 1 of the 4 consumer standards that registered providers of social housing must comply with. Criterion A of the Decent Homes Standard says that to be decent, a dwelling should be free from category 1 hazards.

2. Rented sector reforms

A reviewed HHSRS that is accessible to landlords and tenants and efficient for local councils to use forms a vital part of our reforms to both the social and private rented sectors.

In our white paper, The charter for social housing residents, we committed to review the Decent Homes Standard and consider whether it needs to be updated to ensure it is delivering what is needed for safety and decency now. The first part of the Decent Homes Standard review concluded in autumn 2021. In March 2022, we brought together representatives from across both rented sectors to discuss what might be included in a revised Decent Homes Standard that applies to both sectors.

On 16 June 2022 we published our white paper, A fairer private rented sector, which sets out our plan to fundamentally reform the sector and level up housing quality in this country, delivering a private rented sector that is fit for the 21st century for 4.4 million households who call it their home. Our consultation on introducing a Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector closed on 14 October 2022 and we are considering the responses.

The second part of the Decent Homes Standard review will now consider how best to deliver on our ambition on reducing non-decent homes for both social and private rented sectors.

3. HHSRS review

The HHSRS was introduced in April 2006 by the Housing Act 2004 and has remained unchanged since then. In October 2018 the government launched a scoping review to consider whether the HHSRS should be updated and, if so, to what extent. The scoping review involved a wide-ranging consultation exercise in 2019.

This exercise concluded that, while there was considerable support for the strong links between health and housing that the HHSRS provides, all stakeholders would welcome a simplification of the assessment process. Local council officers found the system complicated to apply and full assessments were resource intensive. Housing providers and tenants found it difficult to understand the outcomes of assessments and felt that there was a discrepancy between the assessment process and other housing-based regulatory regimes that applied to housing provision. There was also majority support for an approach that sets out standards that could be met in most cases, supplementing the risk assessment aspect of the HHSRS.

Following this exercise government initiated a review of the operation of the HHSRS with the aim to bring it up to date, empower landlords and tenants to engage with the system, ensure alignment with other legislative standards and systems, including the Building Safety Act, and help with the effective enforcement of housing standards. To address the support for a standards-based approach, the review also defined what have been described as ‘indicative baselines’ used to make an initial assessment of whether a property contains serious hazards, and also investigated barriers to the use of digital technology to support assessments.

External researchers RH Environmental (RHE) were contracted to undertake the 2-year review, which concluded in 2022. RHE sourced the expertise to explore, assist and challenge their findings, and worked with academics from Cardiff Metropolitan University, Middlesex University and the University of Bristol.

Legislation and guidance that govern the enforcement of standards were outside the scope of the HHSRS review.

New regulations will be necessary to bring the revisions to the HHSRS into force.

4. Stakeholder engagement

Extensive stakeholder engagement was critical to the success of this review and was undertaken in the initial stages of the project along with in-depth literature reviews for each of the project outputs and workstreams. A multi-method approach to engagement, using a combination of regional online focus groups, one-to-one interviews and online surveys, was undertaken. Over 1,000 stakeholders with specialist experience and relevance to the HHSRS and housing sector contributed to the consultation.

5. Review outputs

Key changes

  • To make the assessment process more efficient for local authorities and more accessible to landlords and tenants, we will amalgamate some hazards assessed, reducing the total number from 29 to 21, and produce a simpler means of banding the results of HHSRS assessments.
  • To make it easier for landlords and tenants to understand the system, we will publish baselines that can be used to make an initial assessment of whether a property contains serious hazards (eg ‘stairs must be safe, secure, in sound condition, free of defects and projections, well maintained’). These do not replace the whole risk assessment but are easier to understand.
  • To ensure assessments are consistent, quick and a solid base for effective enforcement, we will publish new statutory operating and enforcement guidance, a comprehensive set of new case studies, and specific tailored guidance for all stakeholders. Our suppliers also carried out analysis of digital assessment, setting out how this should be interlinked with existing databases, and reviewed training requirements and competency frameworks.
  • To make sure the risk of fire in tall buildings can be assessed effectively (following the Grenfell tragedy), we recommended amalgamating the ‘Fire’ hazard with ‘Explosions in Dwellings’. The ‘relevant matters affecting likelihood and harm outcome’, as listed in the operating guidance, are then updated with specific minimum standards which were then field tested and found to mitigate 90% of significant fire hazards.

Improving access to the system

New indicative baselines

To make it easier for landlords and tenants to understand the system, our suppliers produced a checklist that can be used to make an initial assessment (eg ‘stairs must be safe, secure, in sound condition, free of defects and projections, well maintained’).

Indicative baselines are incorporated into the revised HHSRS operating guidance (see above). These do not replace the whole risk assessment but are easier to understand. Where these baselines are met it is likely a property will be free from category 1 hazards.

The statutory HHSRS operating and enforcement guidance (section 9 of the Housing Act 2004) has been revised ensuring the guidance facilitates local councils’ effective use of the system, is more accessible to non-experts, and incorporates new thinking on assessments of high-rise residential buildings with cladding systems.

The proposed structure of the reviewed guidance consists of a suite of 3 ‘Housing Health and Safety Inspection and Assessment Manuals’:

  • Part 1 – An Introductory Guide, providing an introduction to the HHSRS inspection and assessment process.
  • Part 2 – A Technical Guide for Assessors, providing technical information to support the HHSRS inspection and assessment process.
  • Part 3 – A Supplementary Guide to the Hazard of Fire and Explosions, providing additional technical information to support the HHSRS, specifically in relation to the hazards of Fire and Explosions.

New guidance has also been developed specifically for tenants, providing a simple overview of the way that local councils check the safety of homes using the HHSRS. This will explain how homes are checked and what happens if problems are found. This will empower tenants to understand what they should expect and better hold their landlords to account.

Updated comprehensive set of case studies (‘worked examples’)

A comprehensive set of new case studies has been produced, encompassing the range of hazards, illustrating the utilisation of standards and incorporating a spectrum of high, medium and low risk scenarios. These will be available in digital format and, to continually refine the consistency of assessments, local councils will be able to regularly add to the case studies.

Improving the system for use by local councils and other property professionals

Simpler means of banding the results of HHSRS assessments

To make the assessment process more efficient for local authorities and more accessible to landlords and tenants, our suppliers produced a simpler means of banding the results of HHSRS assessments.

Our suppliers also recommended removing scoring ranges for each representative scale point to simplify the assessment process and found that colour coding and the use of descriptor terms aided both in assessment and comprehension of the scoring report by non-experts. Conclusions therefore include replacing the way the severity of a hazard is described (currently ‘Class I-IV’) with descriptor terms from ‘extreme’ to ‘moderate,’ and the use of colour coding to help convey the message around the seriousness of the hazard score, often termed a ‘traffic-light approach.’

Instructions on the final version of this simpler system have been written into the revised HHSRS operating guidance (see above).

Reviewed HHSRS training requirements and competency frameworks

Our suppliers have made recommendations for:

  • A review of Environmental Health degree programmes, including housing module specifications and requirements for the practice-based experience or other forms of experiential learning.
  • Accredited HHSRS-specific short courses, including the development of a an ‘introduction to housing’ course, setting out the wider private rented sector agenda and the basics of inspection in the context of construction, deficiencies and remedies.
  • Ongoing professional development in HHSRS including development and support of virtual learning resources, a suite of materials for learning available to degree programmes and HHSRS short courses, and a toolkit for local councils to aid experiential learning.
  • Development of a graduated scale of competency framework, to satisfy local councils that those enforcing HHSRS regulations are competent to do so, and to provide a consistent framework in undertaking and enforcing HHSRS requirements provided, either though university education or short course training providers.

Our suppliers also carried out analysis of digital assessment, setting out how this should be interlinked with existing databases.

We will consider these recommendations in our ongoing work to support the rented sectors as part of our reform programme.

Improving the underlying system

Amalgamation or removal of existing hazard profiles

Our suppliers have recommended amalgamating and reducing the number of hazards assessed overall from 29 to 21:

  • combining Collision and Entrapment and Position and Operability of Amenities
  • combining Uncombusted Fuel Gas, Biocides, Carbon Monoxide and Fuel Combustion Products and Volatile Organic Compounds
  • combining Fire and Explosions
  • combining Falls associated with Baths, etc., and Falling on Level Surfaces, etc.
  • combining Food Safety, Domestic Hygiene, Pests and Refuse and Personal Hygiene, Sanitation and Drainage

To be suitable for amalgamation, hazards had to meet the reasoned criteria set out below, namely:

  • hazards should have similar causal mechanisms so that assessors consider similar matters when assessing properties for those hazards
  • hazards should have a similar spread of harm outcomes so that combination of the hazards does not inflate harm outcomes inappropriately for hazards with less severe outcomes
  • hazards should come from the same general category (e.g. physiological hazards)
  • amalgamation of the hazards should simplify the HHSRS

The revised list of hazards has been incorporated in the revised HHSRS operating guidance (see above).

Review of the ‘Fire Safety Hazard’

To make sure the risk of fire in tall buildings can be assessed effectively (following the Grenfell tragedy), our suppliers carried out extra work on the Fire hazard and have recommended amalgamating it with ‘Explosions in Dwellings’. The ‘relevant matters affecting likelihood and harm outcome’, as listed in the operating guidance, were updated with specific minimum standards which were then field tested and found to mitigate 90% of significant fire hazards.

6. Next steps

New regulations (an ‘affirmative Statutory Instrument’) are required to bring the conclusions of the HHSRS review into force. These will replace the existing regulations, which prescribe descriptions of hazards, the method for assessing their seriousness and the manner and extent of inspections of residential premises.

These regulations will be introduced after the conclusion of the Decent Homes Standard review.


Article from gov.uk Summary report: outcomes and next steps for the review of the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Gas Safety Week 2023 – Fighting for a Gas Safe Nation

Posted on September 8th, 2023 -

Landlords Legal Responsibilities – Annual Gas Safety Checks

We are proud to be supporting Gas Safety Week 2023, taking place 11 – 17 September.

Gas Safety Week is an annual safety week to raise awareness of gas safety and the importance of taking care of your gas appliances. It is coordinated by Gas Safe Register, the official list of gas engineers who are legally allowed to work on gas.

Badly fitted and poorly serviced gas appliances can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions, and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. CO is a highly poisonous gas that can kill quickly with no warning, as you cannot see it, taste it, or smell it.

Landlords are legally responsible for the safety of their tenants. Landlords must make sure maintenance and annual safety checks on gas appliances are carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer to ensure their tenants and wider communities stay safe.

If you’re a landlord, you are legally obliged to make sure:

  • Gas pipework, appliances and flues provided for tenants are maintained in a safe condition.
  • All gas appliances and flues provided for tenants’ use have an annual safety check. Your tenants can report you to the HSE if you don’t provide one, so it’s important to remember! You can set a free email and/or text reminder so you don’t forget, visit StayGasSafe.co.uk.
  • A Gas Safety Record is provided to the tenant within 28 days of completing the check or to any new tenant before they move in.
  • You keep a copy of the Gas Safety Record until two further checks have taken place.
  • Maintenance and annual safety checks are carried out by a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer.
  • All gas equipment (including any appliance left by a previous tenant) is safe or otherwise removed before re-letting.

Before any gas work is carried out always check the engineer is qualified to carry out the work that needs doing e.g., natural gas, domestic boiler. You can find this information on the Gas Safe Register website or by checking the back of the engineer’s Gas Safe ID card. Encourage your tenants to also check the card when the engineer arrives at the property, and to be aware of any warning signs that their gas appliance is working incorrectly, such as dark or sooty staining, excess condensation, pilot lights which frequently blow out and and error messages on the appliance’s control panel


For more information and to find or check an engineer visit GasSafeRegister.co.uk.




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