Housing standards and enforcement
The Public Health and Housing team offers advice and support to private Landlords and also offers help to private tenants who are living in properties that do not meet current housing standards.
Consultation on new powers to tackle rogue landlords 10 January – 23 February 2018
The majority of landlords in west Suffolk provide good standard accommodation, but occasionally we need to take action against unscrupulous operators and the Housing and Planning Act 2016 gives us new powers. We are adopting these through a council policy, consulting with landlords and residents on what level of fine should be fixed for different levels of harm and culpability and on our wider service. Find out more and complete our civil sanctions survey. Your responses are anonymous and be considered in setting the policy’s sanctions.
We would also like to take this opportunity to ask some wider questions about how we can improve the West Suffolk Housing Standards Service in respect of the private rented sector. We want to ensure that we are providing the right service, to the right people which will help us drive up standards of private rented accommodation across West Suffolk. Please complete the Improving West Suffolk Housing Standards Service survey
All privately rented properties have to obtain a gas safety certificate for appliances on a yearly basis. Please visit Gas Safe Register for further information.
Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
New regulation require private sector landlords to install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties or face a fine of up to £5,000. Visit The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 for more information.
Houses in multiple occupancy (HMO)
Information and advice can be found in our Houses in multiple occupation section.
If you rent a home you have a basic right to repairs and both you and your landlord have specific responsibilities. Further details can be found by clicking on the links below:
Are there hazards in your privately rented home?
A home should be a safe and healthy environment for everyone. A hazard is something that could cause harm to the health and/or safety of a resident or their visitor.
Hazards within the home are assessed using the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) as set out by the Housing Act 2004. There are 29 hazards (the seven hazards under pollutants have been combined for convenience) that are assessed under HHSRS. If a hazard presents a severe threat to the health and safety of an occupant it is known as a category 1 hazard. A less serious hazard is known as a category 2 hazard.
Who is responsible and how should I take action?
Except in a few circumstances, most major and structural repairs will be the responsibility of your landlord.
If you believe there is a hazard within your home, you should contact your landlord to try to resolve the issue.
If you have given your landlord what you consider to be a fair and reasonable period of time to investigate and complete any necessary works but no progress has been made (that is 28 days unless it is an emergency situation), you can contact the Public Health and Housing team for advice or to arrange a HHSRS inspection.
If the investigating officer finds any category 1 hazards in your home, they have a legal responsibility to take further action. If they find a category 2 hazard, they can decide whether it is appropriate to take action or not.
It is usual for the officer to try to deal with the situation informally first, however if the situation is very serious and the landlord will not carry out the required work, the council will consider appropriate enforcement action. For further details please see Housing Standards Enforcement Guidance.
If you are already on a waiting list to be re-housed by the council, please be aware that the HHSRS inspection has no influence on your place in the list. It is a tool to help you in your current property, not a fast track system for rehousing.