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Housing Health and Safety Rating System

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) was introduced under the Housing Act 2004. It is a Risk based system that applies to all properties within the Borough of Colchester.


The system allows the Council to deal with conditions within properties and ensure that persons who are living or visiting are not put at risk from harm.

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) gives the Council  powers and duties to deal with properties in poor condition, where the property affects others, home owners, tenants and properties which often house some of the most vulnerable people.


The HHSRS can apply to Owner occupiers, Privately Rented Properties, Housing Association properties and Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

 Any action that we may take under the system will be based on the following considerations:

  • the hazard rating determined under HHSRS
  • whether we have a duty to or power to act, determined by the presence of a hazard above or below a threshold. Under our Enforcement Policy the Council must take action where category one hazards exist and take action where category two hazards exist and the banding falls within the categories D to F
  • our judgment as to the most appropriate course of action to deal with the hazard or hazards


There are 29 hazards that have to be assessed under the HHSRS and include some of the following:

  • damp and mould
  • excess cold
  • crowding and space
  • entry by intruders
  • personal hygiene sanitation and drainage
  • food safety
  • falling on the stairs
  • falling between levels
  • fire
  • structural collapse and falling elements


Fact Sheets containing information about these common hazards and advice on preventative measures are available to download from our Top Ten Hazards page.


The courses of action that are available to the Authority where we have a duty or a power to act include:

  • serving a hazard awareness notice
  • serving an improvement notice requiring remedial works
  • making a prohibition order, which closes the whole or part of a dwelling or restricts the number of permitted occupants
  • taking emergency action where they may be an imminent risk to life
  • making a demolition order


The HHSRS hazard rating is based on the risk to the potential occupant who is vulnerable to that hazard i.e. who could live at the property. However, when determining what action to take, we use our judgment to take into account the current occupant or occupants. This does not mean that the action will always be based on the vulnerability of the current occupant(s). Action can be taken whether or not the person at most risk to the hazards is living in the dwelling or is a regular visitor to it.  Where a property is tenanted we also take in to account the turnover of tenancies.

We retain the power to act in default and prosecute for lack of compliance. We are also able to recover charges for enforcement actions.


How to contact us

If you have a complaint about the condition of your property you can contact the Private Sector Housing team via Colchester Borough Council's Customer Services based at the Library and Community Hub, Trinity Square, Colchester. The offices are open 9.00am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday.


Fill in and Submit our Private Sector Housing Advice/Complaint Form


Write to us at:    Private Sector Housing Team, Rowan House, 33 Sheepen Road, Colchester CO3 3WG

Telephone us on 01206 282581  Textphone users should dial 18001 01206 282581

Fax: 01206 282598

You can also email us at: housing.private@colchester.gov.uk 

Please help us to help you:

  • If you have a complaint or enquiry then contact us straight away.
    Provide us with as much information as you can and always give your name, address and a telephone number (if you have one). If you are a tenant then please give details of your landlord. This information will be required to progress the case.