The Private Sector Housing Team provides advice on housing standards to tenants, landlords and homeowners. Issues in private rented accommodation should be reported to the landlord or agent prior to contacting the Council. Tenants should allow the landlord/ agent sufficient time to deal with the defects.
Housing defects will be risk assessed using the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). This is a risk based assessment tool which helps local authorities identify and protect against potential risks and hazards to health and safety from defects within the property. HHSRS includes 29 hazards including excess cold, damp and mould, falls on the level, fire etc. The more serious hazards may be rated as category 1 hazards. Other less serious hazards may be rated as category 2 hazards. Local Authorities have a duty to deal with category 1 hazards and discretionary powers to deal with category 2 hazards.
The team have enforcement powers under the Housing Act 2004. If the landlord fails to deal with the issues informally an enforcement notice may be served. Notices may incur a charge for Officer time (discretional).
Types of enforcement action can include:
- Hazard awareness notice;
- Improvement notice;
- Prohibition order;
- Emergency remedial (corrective) action;
- Emergency prohibition order;
- Demolition order;
- Declare a clearance area
Right of Appeal
Landlords have a right of appeal against any formal action taken by the Council. Appeals should be made to the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber), but you must do this within 28 days from the date the action was taken.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Landlords should ensure a working smoke alarm is installed in all occupied premises on each floor of a property being used as living accommodation. They should also install a carbon monoxide detector in any room used as living accommodation which contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance (coal or wood burning fires and stoves). The local authority will serve a remedial notice under The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 on landlords which fail to comply. If works are not complete within 28 days a penalty charge may be issued.
Responsibility for drainage is dependent on ownership. If beyond the boundary of the property and shared it will be classed as a sewer and will be the responsibility of Severn Trent Water. Issues can be reported via their website https://www.stwater.co.uk/
If the issue is with a drain within the property boundary, responsibility will remain with the owner or occupier (This is dependent on arrangements made within the tenancy agreement). If there is a risk to public health, the Private Sector Housing Team will investigate and may serve notice on those responsible to ensure that the private drain is adequately maintained.
Private Sector Housing may find an issue within the property to be a statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The issue needs to be classed as a nuisance or prejudicial to health. Statutory nuisance is a criminal offence. If the local authority establish that a statutory nuisance exists an Abatement Notice will be served. Failure to comply with the notice may result in prosecution.
For more information please telephone 01543 462621
Or write to:
Private Sector Housing
Cannock Chase Council