Risk Assessment - Private Landlords

Navigating the minefield of assessing hazards and risks in a private rented property can be daunting to the best of us.

Here's a great guide that I have found to assist landlords who wish to risk assess their property themselves.

For those who don't, there's always Norman Galloway Lettings, who are HHSRS qualified.

Risk Assessment 

The following guide is from the RLA and is to assist landlords who wish to risk assess their property themselves.

"The guide will be periodically updated. Landlords should ensure that they are using the current edition. All updated versions will be re-dated.

The guide adopts some of the principles of the Government's Housing  Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) that is the method used by local authorities when assessing the condition of privately rented accommodation.

There is no legal requirement for landlords to use HHSRS.  Nevertheless, in carrying out risk assessments as part of the process of ensuring that residential hazards are maintained as low as is practical,  landlords will be acting responsibly and also will reduce the risk of enforcement action by local authorities.

However, landlords as 'responsible persons' do have a duty under the  Fire Safety Order to carry out a risk assessment to determine any fire safety measures required in common parts of buildings comprising flats and in houses in multiple occupations (HMOs).

Landlords also have statutory repairing obligations under the  Landlord and Tenant Act and the Defective Premises Act. Carrying out and documenting risk assessments, and acting on the findings, can assist landlords to satisfy their repairing obligations.

Step 1 - Awareness Of Hazards

Familiarise yourself with the 29 hazards that you will need to check your property for below.

Step 2 - Awareness of Deficiencies That Cause Hazards

Familiarise yourself with the POTENTIAL deficiencies that cause hazards:

Vulnerable Group

Carbon Monoxide
The Elderly
Collision and Entrapment
Crowding and Space

Damp & Mould Growth
The Young
Domestic Hygiene
Electrical Hazards
The Young
Entry by Intruders

Position & Operability of Amenities
The Elderly
Excess Cold
The Elderly

Excess Heat
The Elderly
Falls in Baths
The Elderly
Falls Between Levels
The Young
Falls on the Level
The Elderly
Falls on Stairs
The Elderly

The Elderly

Food Safety
Hot Surfaces
The Young
The Young

Personal Hygiene
The Young
Radiation (Radon Gas)
The Elderly
Structural Collapse
Uncombusted Gas Fuel
Volatile Organic Compounds
Water Supply

Step 3 - Property Survey

Inspect your property to identify whether or not there are any hazards that need remedial action.

This is done by making a written note of any of the deficiencies that can cause a hazard.

Deficiencies can be defects e.g. disrepair, or shortfalls e.g. inadequate heating.

Step 4 - Assessing the Risk from a Hazard

Consider the likelihood of the hazard causing harm  to an occupier or visitor to the property over a 12 month period, and the potential severity of that harm.

In the Description of Hazards on page 6 onwards, the matters that affect likelihood and severity are listed.

Using these lists as a scoring check sheet, score any deficiencies that you have identified using the following key:

Not Satisfactory
Low Priority
Medium Priority
Seriously Defective
High Priority

Landlords should also have regard to the vulnerability of their tenants, considering age,  mobility, etc., in assessing the risk from  hazard(s).

Click here for a worked example of a risk assessment

Step 5 - Prioritising Remedial Works

The scores for any deficiencies will provide an indication of the priority that will need to be given to remedial works i.e. a low score would indicate low priority.

When considering what remedial works, if any, are needed to remove or reduce a hazard, take into account the relative seriousness of the deficiencies that have been scored. A hazard with an overall low score may still need priority action if some of the individual deficiencies scored are particularly hazardous.

The checklist scoring system is intended to provide a simple indication of whether remedial works to deal with a hazard should be a low, medium, or high priority. The system is not designed to be a  scientifically accurate risk assessment process. This system does not enable a person to compare the relative scores between each hazard but merely highlights areas of most concern.

Occupancy should be taken into account when assessing priority of works. The very young and the elderly are particularly prone to some hazards - these have been highlighted on the list of hazards. Only when considering 'crowding' should primary regard to current occupation be made. The best course of action to deal with a hazard will take account of current occupancy and possible occupancy changes.

Although the private rented sector tends to cater for younger, able-bodied people rather than vulnerable groups, landlords should be mindful of those hazards that put vulnerable people at higher risk and take the necessary remedial action as appropriate.

Step 6 - Deciding on Remedial Works

As a matter of principle, hazards should be removed where practicable.

However, some hazards are unavoidable. Unavoidable hazards should be reduced to as low a level of risk that is practicable and cost-effective.

The cost of remedial works should be borne in mind in determining the best course of action.

Deciding on what works may be necessary to remedy some hazards may be straightforward e.g. those arising from disrepair. For example, if a gas fire is unsafe it needs to be repaired/replaced. Likewise damp requires eradication. However, deciding on remedial works for others will be more challenging."

Whether you decide to go it alone and manage your own property/ies or employ the services of a professional, the fact remains, that all landlords have much to consider and act upon. 

Being a landlord in the private rented sector is not for the faint-hearted and is not, as some may believe an easy job. Many landlords are hugely professional and work tirelessly to provide a much-needed service to tenants. This is an essential service that I personally feel can get undervalued. With the significant investment of; time, money, and knowledge very often being taken for granted or not considered at all.  

I applaud those great landlords who work hard to do the right thing, and very often receive very little thanks - and in some cases, worse, no rent. 

Diane Bialek

Can't find what you are looking for?

Our helpful team are on hand to answer any queries and concerns you may have.

Get in Touch

This website uses cookies. We use cookies to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic.
You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website. Read our cookie policy. I understand