RESPONSIBLE LANDLORD SCHEME
Physical Standards (pages 3-10)
Management Code of Practice (pages 11-18)
Tenants Code of Practice (page 19)
Appendix A (page 21-24)
A brief guide to the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)
Useful contacts (page 25)
Houses in Multiple Occupation Fire Standards, for non-licensable properties
(available as a separate document on request)
This reference document is to give you detailed information on the specific standards and
requirements that apply to the Sheffield Responsible Landlord Scheme.
This includes the property and management standards.
There is also a brief guide on the Housing Health and Safety Rating System.
Completed forms and photocopies of the gas and electricity certificates should be
Sheffield City Council, Private Rented Standards, Responsible Landlord Scheme,
6 Floor, Derwent House, 150 Arundel Gate, Sheffield S1 2JY,
Telephone: 0114 273 4680,
E-mail: email@example.com Web: www.sheffield.gov.uk/rls
June 2011 1 RLS Guidance Notes
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June 2011 2 RLS Guidance Notes
The Sheffield Responsible Landlord Scheme
This Physical Standard list is to enable landlords to decide if their property complies with the
Responsible Landlord Scheme Standard. Please read this list carefully, as by signing and
submitting a completed application form to join the Scheme you are self-declaring that each
standard for each of your properties has been achieved.
Please contact us if you are unsure about whether you meet the standards.
Please refer to the Houses in Multiple Occupation Fire Standards, for non-licensable properties,
for additional standards in properties with 3 or more unrelated people sharing.
The property must be Fit for Human Habitation (This is a basic statutory requirement that can
be found in the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985, section 10) with specific reference to:
Freedom from disrepair
Freedom from dampness and associated mould growth
Adequate provision for heating, lighting and ventilation
Adequate piped supply of wholesome hot and cold water
Satisfactory facilities for preparation and cooking of food
Suitably located WC, bath or shower and wash hand basin
Effective drainage for foul waste and surface water
Freedom from excess cold
Free from the risk of falls and trip hazards
The property must also be free of serious health and safety hazards. See the guidance on part
1 of the Housing Act 2004.
For a short guide and more details of the Housing Health and Safety Rating System‟s (HHSRS)
29 hazards, see appendix A.
2 Safety and Security
2.1 Gas Safety
A photocopy of the latest certificate, no more than 12 months old, must be enclosed.
This should show that any gas appliances are safe and have also been regularly serviced
in line with manufacturer’s requirements.
A copy should be displayed prominently within the property, or in the tenant information pack.
All gas installations must be covered by a current Landlord Gas Safety Certificate (eg a CP12)
issued by a Gas Safe registered engineer. All works to gas installations must comply with Gas
Safety (Installation & Use) (as amended) Regulations 1998.
(Please tell us if there is no gas at the property)
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2.2 Electrical Safety
A photocopy of the latest ‘satisfactory’ certificate, or evidence of a recent test, no more
than 5 years old, must be enclosed.
A copy should be displayed prominently within the property, or in the information pack you
The fixed electrical wiring and installations must be certified as safe by an approved electrician
in accordance with the current relevant Electrical Regulations (BS7671, including all current
amendments) at least every five years, unless otherwise indicated on the previous inspection to
be sooner, and must be to a „Satisfactory‟ standard.
Any alterations or additions to the electrical installations must be carried out by a competent
person in accordance with the current relevant Electrical Regulations and the installation left in
a safe condition and proper working order.
There should be no fraying cable, overloading of sockets etc. Every electrical appliance, which
is plugged into a socket, should be visually checked at regular intervals, before tenancy
commencement, and at least yearly intervals.
Two double sockets should be installed in each room to ensure that tenants do not need to use
extensions, or need to overload sockets. Sockets should be located where appliances can be
used safely without flexes causing a trip hazard.
A minimum of two twin high level sockets or equivalent, to be provided in each kitchen in
addition to other sockets dedicated for mains appliances. Sockets should be located away from
sinks, in a position where appliances can be used safely.
Light fittings should have low energy light bulbs fitted throughout the property where possible.
Light switches should be in a suitable location where they are easy to use.
It is recommended that electrical testing for portable electrical appliances, supplied by the
landlord, should be provided by the landlord. This should be risk assessed, but as a minimum it
is recommended to test appliances before the start of each tenancy and at regular intervals
during any longer term tenancies.
Appliances which are provided by the owner must be in a safe working condition at the start of
the tenancy, and regularly inspected to ensure they are in a good condition.
There is a link to the Landlords Guide to Electrical Safety published by the Electrical Safety
Council on the Responsible Landlord Scheme web page at www.sheffield.gov.uk/rls
Door frames should be solid, well fitted and good quality and able to be latched closed.
All door locks to external doors should ensure that doors are secure but can be opened from
the inside at all times in the event of fire.
Locks with a thumb turn mechanism to allow escape from the property, without the use of a
key, are required for most Houses in Multiple Occupation. To BS3621 or EN equivalent.
Any bedrooms fitted with locks must allow escape without the use of a key.
All windows should be solid, well fitted and good quality.
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Window locks should be provided to ground floor windows and any other windows accessible
without the use of a ladder. If key operated double glazed units are fitted, then leave the
window unlocked or with the key near the window, but not visible from the outside. Any new
windows fitted should be to BS7950 or BS7412.
Any opening escape windows should not have grills fitted to the outside.
Any windows with a sill height of below 800mm will need opening restrainers and safety glass
to BS 6206.
Any replacement of external doors and windows may need Planning Permission, particularly in
a conservation area. Please speak to the Planning Department for more information.
Any coal chutes should be made secure to prevent access from outside.
2.5 Fire Safety
The scheme requirements are:
The 10 year lithium battery type detector is the minimum requirement for family
These are commonly used in owner occupied houses. They are readily available from DIY
outlets for around £15 each. They operate on the ionisation method. They are not interlinked,
have no mains supply and operate independently by means of a 10-year lithium battery.
Check that the detector is operating by pressing the test button as per the manufacturer‟s
Smoke alarms should be fitted to each hallway and landing ceiling.
The recommended standards are:-
Mains interlinked smoke detectors to each floor with a heat detector in the kitchen is
recommended in family accommodation for reliability, and is more tamper resistant.
For Houses In Multiple Occupation (HMO‟s) that do not fall under HMO licensing regulations,
then please see the separate Fire Safety Standards for Non-Licensable HMO‟s document, for
the requirements, depending on the layout. This is available on request.
For HMO‟s that do fall under Mandatory Licensing then please refer to the HMO Licensing
Landlords should provide guidance notes or a briefing to new tenants on fire safety and
equipment in your property.
Fire doors, if fitted, should meet British Standard BS 476-22 or BS EN 1634-1. Self-closers
should be to BS EN. 1154.
Intumescent smoke seals to BS 476 part 20:22 for fire only and BS 476 part 31:1 for smoke
A fire blanket is to be provided in the kitchen. This should meet BS EN 1869:1997.
It should be wall mounted near the cooker, but not positioned where a tenant would need to pass
the cooker to reach it in an emergency.
There must be a clear escape route within the property leading directly to a place of safety
outside the building, signed if necessary. All exit routes in control of the landlord, should be
kept clear and unobstructed at all times.
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The front door, especially when it is in a room being used as a bedroom, should be accessible
from inside the house with a thumb turn to allow easy escape. There should be no bedroom door
locks that would prevent other tenants from accessing the front door in an emergency. Ideally
escape windows should be provided on 2 and 3 storey properties when new windows are being
Basic visual inspection of all apparatus on a regular basis to identify any damage, disrepair or
There should be no polystyrene, such as ceiling tiles or internal wall insulation under wallpaper, in
2.6 Stairs and escape route
There should be a clear escape route to the outside, with no obstructions (which includes
ground floor bedrooms with a front door access).
Handrails or grab rails are required to all stairs where practical. There should be adequate
guard rails around stair wells and safe access to any cellar.
There should not be any horizontal balustrade rails and no gaps wider than 100mm between
2.7 Furniture (Furnished Lets only)
If furniture, curtains, blinds and soft furnishings are provided, they must be compliant with the
Furniture & furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1993.
A Tenancy agreement can require tenants not to bring in non-complying items.
All furnishings provided by the landlord to be in a clean and sound condition at commencement of
2.8 Carbon Monoxide
A Carbon Monoxide alarm is required for any property with a gas appliance, such as a boiler,
gas fire or gas oven / hob. This should be to BS EN 50291:2001
It should be fitted to a suitable location usually at least 3m away from the gas appliance, please
refer to the manufacturer‟s instructions for the specific fitting instructions.
Combined smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors are acceptable.
The detector should be tested regularly, not just the battery, as per the manufacturer‟s
instructions. Usually using a Carbon Monoxide canister.
3 Heating and Water
Provide a controllable (by tenants) form of heating to all habitable rooms, capable of providing
the following temperatures in each room :-
Bedrooms only 18 C
Living Room 20 C
Study / Bedroom 20 C
Bathroom/ WC/ Dining Kitchen 20 C
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Temperatures must be achievable when the external temperature is -10C
The meters should be accessible to tenants, or if their heating is included in the rent, then the
tenants should still be able to turn off the gas if needed in an emergency.
There should be no bottled gas, paraffin or halogen heaters within the property.
3.2 Hot Water
Provide a constant controllable supply of hot water to baths, sinks, showers and wash hand
There should be access to the stop cock by tenants in case of an emergency.
4 Kitchen facilities
The kitchen should be laid out in such an arrangement as to allow for its safe use and to be
easy to keep clean and hygienic by the tenant.
A piped hot and cold water supply is required to the kitchen sink.
Space for a refrigerator, including a freezer is required.
A refrigerator of appropriate size for the number of tenants in the property, including freezer
space, should be provided in the kitchen, if a furnished property.
4.3 Cooker (furnished properties)
A 4-ring cooker, oven and grill located with a work top of at least 150mm either side, and it should
be positioned away from any door openings. 2 or 3 rings may be acceptable for small 1 or 2
person flats and studio‟s, where space is limited.
4.4 Food Storage and Preparation
Adequate food and utensil storage in the kitchen. 1 standard single storage cupboard per adult.
The space in the sink base unit is not suitable for food storage.
A minimum 1linear metre of dedicated free worktop space for food preparation is required in the
kitchen, with a minimum depth of 500mm.
4.5 Washing Machine
Plumbing provision and a dedicated electrical socket for a washing machine for a letting
occupied by more than one person should be provided.
It is recommended to supply a washing machine which, if provided, should include its repair or
replacement if there are any problems unless there is a written agreement with the tenants stating
June 2011 7 RLS Guidance Notes
There should be some form of ventilation provision to kitchens and bath / shower rooms.
Mechanical extraction / ventilation is recommended for normal bathrooms / kitchens, and it is a
requirement for internal bathrooms / kitchens.
5 Bathroom Facilities
5.1 Washing Facilities
Shower and or a bath, and wash hand basin to be provided with a tiled, or equivalent, splash
If a shower is fitted, it should have a waterproof surround and a shower screen / curtain. A
suitable method of ventilation should be fitted. It is recommended to fit some form of mechanical
ventilation, in accordance with Building Regulations.
A wash hand basin with a hot and cold water supply is to be located with every w.c, or on the
An internal w.c has to be provided, with adequate ventilation. A wash hand basin with a hot and
cold water supply is to be located with every w.c or on the same floor.
5.3 En Suite
En-suite facilities should only be provided where there is adequate space and a suitable location.
They should be properly enclosed and ventilated and to Building Regulations requirements.
Adequate shelving or storage should be provided in a bathroom which is suitable for the number
6 Other Matters
The decoration of the internal and external of the property should be clean and sound at
commencement of tenancy.
Walls and ceilings must be in a sound condition.
6.2 Floor coverings
Floor coverings are clean, level, sound, well secured and easily cleanable, with no frayed areas,
to minimise trip hazards (particularly to stairs and landings). In bathrooms and kitchens where
vinyl or tiled floor coverings may be used, the edges may need to be sealed to minimise water
If the property has any adaptations done in relation to people with disabilities, such as level
wheelchair access, hearing loops, sounders which may suit tenants with a particular disability,
then please let us know.
June 2011 8 RLS Guidance Notes
6.4 Burglar Alarms
Where burglar alarms are provided, they should be fitted with an automatic cut out device that
prevents the alarm for ringing for more than 20 minutes. The equipment should be serviced
regularly and replaced if unreliable.
6.5 Internal Layout
Properties are not allowed to be occupied if the internal layout is likely to be prejudicial to the
health, safety and wellbeing of the tenants.
7 External Conditions
7.1 Garden / Yards
Front and rear gardens / yards should be tidy, free from rubbish and safe before the beginning
of a tenancy.
Access steps, handrails, pathways, sheds and gates to be kept in good condition.
Handrails should be fitted to external steps where there are more than 3 steps.
Police recommendations: Bushes and shrubbery in gardens should be kept to a maximum of
1 metre high. The lowest branches of any tree should be no lower than 2 metres from the
ground. Shrubbery should be of a nature that discourages people from walking through it, such
as shrubs with thorns.
External access steps and pathways should be maintained and free from tripping hazards.
External redundant buildings should be demolished if unsafe, or maintained in a safe condition.
Ensure planning permission is not needed before demolishing any structures.
Access to the rear of properties should be gated where practical.
Tenants should be provided with the necessary tools if it is a requirement for tenants to maintain
7.2 External Lighting
To be provided and maintained for rear and side entrance doors and for access passageways
where possible / practical. Passive PIR type lighting is recommended.
It is not always practical or possible to provide external lighting because of disturbance to
neighbours. This can also be difficult when the only fixing place is on neighbouring property. It
should be therefore assessed as to how lighting can be positioned so as not to disturb either
neighbours or tenants. External passive „PIR‟ sensor lighting should be provided if at all
The police recommend external lighting should provide white light and be in anti-vandal casing
with dusk to dawn PIR sensors.
7.3 Rubbish / Dustbins
One standard 240 litre wheeled bin for up to 5 people, and any other recycling bin / bags as
required in the area, should be provided on a hard standing area.
Front and rear gardens / yards to be free from rubbish.
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Veolia can provide larger bins for properties with more than 5 people on request. Contact Veolia
on 0114 273 4567.
The Police recommend that dustbins should be held in an area away from ground floor windows
and preferably secured.
7.4 Rainwater goods
Roofs, gutters, drains and down-pipes to be in a good state of repair and securely fitted.
Any replacements fitted may need planning permission if the property is Listed, or in a
8 Energy efficiency/ recycling
Roof / loft spaces insulated where accessible from the house. A minimum of 270mm loft
insulation, or equivalent including any upright stud walls in attic loft spaces, where accessible.
Dormer windows and roof slopes can be over-boarded with insulated plasterboard to obtain
greater energy efficiency if no insulation is evident.
Hot water tanks and exposed water pipes are insulated.
There should be cellar insulation between the ground floor joists, where accessible, fixed in
place with wire mesh or other suitable arrangements.
External cavity wall insulation should be installed, unless it is a solid wall.
Energy efficient lighting, such as low energy (CFL or LED etc) bulbs.
Some CFLs seem to start very slowly, don’t give the light they promise or don’t last as long as
they claim: beware of poor quality, cheap lamps: make sure that you only buy CFLs with the
‘Energy Saving. Recommended’ logo on the box from the major manufacturers.
Stairways should be adequately illuminated to allow for their safe use.
Facilities are provided to the Council‟s requirements.
Tenants should be encouraged to recycle as much as possible thorough the use of Council
provided recycling bins, boxes or bags.
8.4 White goods
It is recommended that when replacing white goods, such as fridges and ovens etc., they are
ideally „A‟ or „A+‟ rated for energy efficiency.
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) was required from 1 October 2008 for most new
If you are uncertain if your property meets these requirements, please contact a member
of Private Rented Standards on 0114 273 4680 and we can advise you accordingly.
June 2011 10 RLS Guidance Notes
The Responsible Landlord Scheme
Management Code of Practice
The Code of Practice aims to assist you by promoting good practices and awareness of the
landlord‟s and tenant‟s obligations and responsibilities. It reflects a combination of legal
requirements and voluntary good practice.
You are requested to read the document and by signing the declaration in the application
form, you agree to comply with each part.
Note:- Any guidance notes are in italics.
Landlords will comply with the following:
1 Legal responsibilities
Be aware of relevant legislation and statutory provisions including, but not limited to:
Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007
Disability Discrimination Act
Furniture & Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988,1989,1993
Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations as amended 1998
Health & Safety at Work Act etc1974
Housing Act 1985, part 10, regarding overcrowding
Housing Act 1988 (Assured and Assured Shorthold Tenancies).
Housing Act 2004, parts 1 & 2
Landlord and Tenant Act 1985
Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 & (Modification) Order 2001
Party Wall Act 1996
Protection from Eviction Act 1977 as amended by S29 HA 1988
Protection from Harassment Act 1997
The Housing (Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation) Regulations 2006 (SI 372,
Town and Country Planning Act 1990
More information about relevant legislation is provided in the „Private Landlord Information Pack‟
available from Private Rented Standards. A copy is provided in the Landlords Pack received on
membership to the RLS, or you can download it from www.sheffield.gov.uk/prs
2 Equal opportunities
Ensure that in the provision and letting of housing or associated services and in the letting of
contracts for services no person or group of persons applying will be treated less favourably
than any other person, because, for example, of their race, age, gender, disability or sexuality.
More information can be provided if required.
June 2011 11 RLS Guidance Notes
3 Marketing, deposits and letting property to tenants
All property details are reported accurately without misrepresentation to prospective tenants and
the contract start and end dates are made clear before the contract is signed
Any external advertising should be strictly in accordance with Local Authority Planning
requirements. The sign should relate to the specific property only when there is a forthcoming
vacancy, be within the legal size and removed when that property is let.
All prospective tenants must be granted an opportunity to view the property. It is important that
the consent of existing tenants is obtained before viewings take place.
Tenants are provided with a copy of a written tenancy agreement, which clearly defines the
responsibilities of landlord and tenant (including payment of water charges, utility bills, service
charges and Council Tax). The name(s) and address of the landlord should also be stated on
the agreement. The Tenancy Agreement should also list who is to be living at the property.
Further copies should be made available on request to tenants.
Tenancy Agreements should be written with a view to the unfair contract terms legislation.
Prospective tenants should be permitted not less than 48 hours, within which to consider and
seek independent advice regarding the terms of the tenancy agreement, before signing.
Landlords should make a copy of the tenancy agreement available in advance of the letting.
Make sure tenants are aware that the property is not theirs until a tenancy agreement is signed.
No monies for Tenancy deposits or rent should be demanded prior to the signing and exchange
of any tenancy agreement.
Reservation deposits can be accepted providing they are small but refundable if the landlord
withdraws. A receipt should be issued stating clearly what this money is for and the grounds for
When a landlord or letting agent takes a deposit from an Assured Shorthold tenant, the
deposit must be protected in a government-authorised tenancy deposit scheme. The
prescribed information about the protection must be given to the tenants within 14 days
of receipt of the deposit.
Any Service Charges that the tenant is liable for should be made clear from the start in the
June 2011 12 RLS Guidance Notes
The name, current residential or contact address (not a Private Box) and telephone numbers of
the landlord or, if applicable, the agent are stated on the Tenancy Agreement (or accompanying
Where the landlord‟s address or other contact details change, then the tenants must be
informed in writing.
The property must be clean and in a good state of repair, electrical appliances safe and
checked, and in working order prior to the tenancy commencement.
Any pre-tenancy repairs, or intentions on the part of the owner to undertake improvement,
should be confirmed in writing and included or referred to in the Tenancy Agreement.
Rubbish should be removed and bins removed from the kerbside before a tenancy starts, and
within 48 hours of a tenancy finishing, or within the next bin cycle.
There should be separate meters for each individual self–contained unit, unless the bills are
included in the rent. However there should still be access to be able to cut off a supply by the
tenants if needed in an emergency.
In properties where there are multiple individual lettings then the payment for bills should be
clearly laid out.
The landlord should make available to the tenants, a tenancy information pack containing a
copy of the gas and electrical certificates, tests for smoke alarms and fire detection systems as
well as emergency contact numbers. There should be instructions for using the heating system,
alarms, fire detection systems, the washer and other gas and electrical appliances and refuse/
recycling requirements, such as collection days etc. Landlords should inform tenants who the
utility suppliers are, if the landlord knows.
There should also be the laminated RLS certificate on display in the property.
The pack must be prominently displayed or available on request for each tenant.
(The RLS provides an information pack to each property on joining the scheme and on renewal,
which contains various useful leaflets for tenants.)
The property should not be overcrowded.
The landlord should provide Buildings and Public Liability Insurance, and permission obtained
from any mortgage company and/ or the freeholder, to let the property.
June 2011 13 RLS Guidance Notes
Ensure that an accurate, detailed and agreed inventory of furniture, fixtures and equipment is
provided at the start of each tenancy.
This should be signed and dated by tenants, and countersigned by yourself.
Dated photographs can be useful additional evidence of the condition of a property, before
tenants move in, only if also signed and dated by the tenants, or you may want to use a video.
5 Rent and other charges
Ensure that prospective tenants are issued with a clear statement of the rent due to be paid,
including the dates, amount and method of payments to be made during the tenancy.
Provide written receipts to tenants for monies demanded, and in all cases where the method of
payment is by cash. Post dated cheques, if requested, should not be cashed until the due date.
Where rent is paid weekly it is a legal requirement to provide a rent book or similar document.
The landlord should maintain proper accounts with receipts for all monies received, or a Rent
Book. Plus receipts for any works done on the property. It is recommended that Standing Order
Mandates are used for rent collection.
6 Repairs and maintenance
Ensure that at the commencement of the tenancy or other dates mutually agreed with the
tenants, all obligations on the part of the landlord, with regard to repairs and improvements to
the property are fulfilled.
Establish and communicate to the tenants a clear procedure for the reporting of repairs with
Relevant non-emergency repair and emergency repair telephone numbers should be provided
to tenants at the start of each new tenancy.
Respond to repairs which are identified by the landlord, or reported by the tenants during the
course of the tenancy as follows:
It is expected that a repair will be completed within the times stated below in the majority of
cases. It is however recognised that there may be circumstances where this may not be
achievable, and Landlords should advise tenants of anticipated completion dates for repairs
where target dates cannot be met, and make any necessary arrangements to address health
and safety issues until the repairs are completed.
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Category - A (emergency)
All repairs endangering the safety, health or security of the residents or the structure of the
building e.g. gas leaks, major electrical faults, blocked WCs, major water leaks.
Response time: Not more than within 24 hours of notification.
This should include a response to burglary damage boarding/ repair of any insecure door or
window within 12 hours.
Gas leaks should be reported immediately to the National Grid Emergency Service on 0800
Category - B (urgent)
Eg. Complete breakdown of heating/hot water systems and serious lighting faults.
Response time: Within 48 hours of notification.
Category – C
All other urgent repairs affecting the structure and services but not regarded to be prejudicial to
the safety, health or security of the residents or the structure of the building, e.g. direct water
penetration, refrigerator breakdowns and major cooker faults.
Response time: Within seven working days of notification.
Category – D
All other repairs reported but which do not affect the safety, health or security of the residents or
the structure of the building and are services, which do not prevent reasonable occupation of
the accommodation. Examples are plasterwork and minor furniture repairs.
Response time: Within three weeks of notification.
Where reasonable and practical, provide at least 24 hours written notice when access to the
property is required for repairs, making all reasonable efforts to agree a mutually acceptable
time of access with the tenants. In the event of an emergency, tenants should co-operate as
fully as possible with the landlord.
Ensure that planned programmes of repair, servicing and those improvements that a landlord is
entitled to do, are carried out with due regard to the convenience of the occupants and that the
tenants permission has been obtained.
Communicate as far as possible to the tenants how long repairs are going to take and any
disruption or inconvenience that may be entailed.
Take reasonable steps to carry out repairs in a way which minimises discomfort and is
considerate to the tenant‟s circumstances.
Ensure that all contractors and tradespersons carry relevant Identification, which should be
shown to tenants on demand and can be checked. Alternatively, the tenants should be notified
who will be coming and when.
Ensure that all redundant components and debris is removed from the premises on completion
of works. Contractors should behave in a professional and courteous manner at all times.
All reasonable effort should be made to minimise the impact and disruption on tenants.
June 2011 15 RLS Guidance Notes
Ensure that clear, written instructions for the safe use of all heating and hot water systems, all
gas and electrical appliances, burglar systems and fire detection systems are provided.
Tenants should have appliance user manuals, or copies, available.
Ensure that no form of bottled gas, paraffin heater or halogen heater is provided or used as a
heating source. External bottled gas may be used for a property in some circumstances, usually
in rural properties where there is no mains gas supply.
Ensure that the smoke / fire detection systems and fire fighting equipment is serviced / tested
annually by a competent person. Investigate any reports of false alarms. Records should be
kept of these inspections. Tenants should be advised they are responsible for routine tests.
A regular visual check of electrical appliances, cables, plugs and sockets should be carried out
to make sure they are sound.
Ensure external lighting, where provided, is maintained in working order.
Provide tenants with clear instructions for turning off and restoring hot and cold water supplies
and central heating for periods of absence during winter, and on safe and efficient working of
other appliances in the house.
If there is a heating breakdown then you should provide tenants with some alternative heating, if
it cannot be repaired quickly.
Provide tenants with written information and instructions about the procedure in the event of fire
or an activation of fire detector system, including how to switch off and reset the system.
The owner/ agent must conduct their business in a professional, courteous and diligent manner.
The owner/ agent must not act in a manner which brings the Responsible Landlord Scheme into
June 2011 16 RLS Guidance Notes
9 Anti social behaviour
On receipt of a complaint in writing, you should investigate within 3 working days and,
depending on the nature of the complaint, seek to enforce the responsibilities of the Tenant(s).
Anti-social behaviour is defined as being “behaviour that causes nuisance, annoyance,
harassment, alarm or distress to one or more people living nearby”. This can include (but is not
limited to), leaving rubbish and litter, vandalism, noise nuisance, harassment and intimidation.
You should have clear policies and procedures for handling tenant disputes and complaints
about nuisance between neighbours/ tenants and their guests. You should deal fairly with all
parties. You should carefully consider whether there are grounds for civil or criminal action.
Your letting agreement should make clear that anti social behaviour is grounds for you to apply
to court for a Possession Order to bring the tenancy to an end before the expiry of the fixed
Where you receive a complaint about alleged anti social behaviour by one of your tenants, you
should take reasonable steps to get details of the complaint, make enquiries of anyone else
who may have information about the problem and then talk to the alleged perpetrator about their
Noise nuisance complaints can be referred to the Council noise team on 0114 203 7410.
All landlords should ensure that tenants know that harassment of any kind by their tenants will
not be tolerated. This can be done before a tenancy commences, and preferably be included in
the tenancy agreement as a ground for possession. Landlords should be mindful of the wishes
of tenants who experience harassment during their tenancy.
If there is reason to think the initial complaint may be justified, you will make the perpetrator
aware of the effect of their behaviour on others and that you will take steps to end their tenancy
if the problems continue.
Any issues regarding the antisocial behaviour of your tenants (and their guests) will be dealt
with promptly and effectively. Tenants should be reminded of their responsibilities, where
Anti-social behaviour includes any activity that is deemed as having a negative impact on the
community, including noise nuisance, abusive behaviour, drug and alcohol abuse, litter, rubbish
and untidy gardens etc.
Where you suspect that the behaviour may amount to a criminal offence, this should be
reported to the Police.
Where you are unable to negotiate or mediate an agreed change to any anti-social behaviour,
you should make your tenant aware that further anti social behaviour may lead you to give
Notice to end the tenancy and take the appropriate legal steps to get them to leave and to claim
back the costs of this action from them.
June 2011 17 RLS Guidance Notes
Where the service of Notice does not act as an effective deterrent, you will give reasonable
consideration to ending the tenancy by legal proceedings, including getting legal advice where
10 Respect for privacy and right to ‘Quiet Enjoyment’ and unlawful
All tenants have the right to „Quiet Enjoyment‟ in their home. This is the right to live in the
property free from interference and disturbance by their landlord or anyone acting for the
landlord. Respecting the right to Quiet Enjoyment includes recognising that a tenant has
„exclusive possession‟ of the property which means that they have the right to exclude all others
from the premises, including the landlord, for the duration of the tenancy.
The exception to this is the rights the landlord has to inspect for, and carry out, those repairs
which they are obliged to carry out, subject to agreement with the tenants or a Court Order.
In practice the right to Quiet Enjoyment largely means allowing the tenant to have the privacy
and control anyone would normally expect in their home.
One of the most extreme examples of breaching (breaking) a tenant‟s right to Quiet Enjoyment
is changing the locks or otherwise unlawfully evicting the tenant without a Court Order.
Other examples of breach of the right to Quiet Enjoyment include going into the property against
the tenant‟s wishes, disconnecting fuel supplies, calling at unreasonable hours and intimidating
The tenant‟s right to Quiet Enjoyment will be respected at all times. Offences of unlawful
eviction or serious harassment of a tenant are investigated by the Council with a view to
June 2011 18 RLS Guidance Notes
11 Tenants responsibilities
The tenants are expected to conduct themselves in a „tenant-like‟ manner whilst occupying the
premises and to co-operate with the landlord in discharging his or her responsibilities.
Tenants and, where appropriate, their guests should specifically:
Return the signed inventory by the specified date (7 days is the recommended timescale)
making note of any missing or damaged items.
Make arrangements to finalise utility accounts and agree meter readings on the change of a
tenancy. Settle final accounts for utilities by end of tenancy, and inform the landlord as to
whom the suppliers are.
Return the property in the same condition as at the start of the tenancy excepting only for
reasonable wear and tear. Do not leave the property in a condition likely to be a hazard to
health, and ensure keys are returned on the date specified.
Pay the agreed level of rent when it becomes due.
Dispose/ recycling of all household waste in accordance with Local Authority requirements,
and keep all outside areas free from waste generated by the occupants. Tenants should be
encouraged to recycle as much as possible.
Promptly inform the landlord in writing of any repairs, which may be necessary.
Co-operate with the landlord regarding reasonable access for repairs and maintenance.
Ensure that no damage is caused to the property and any contents provided, including
damage caused by guests.
Inform the landlord if the property is to be left vacant for periods greater than 28 days.
Behave in a responsible way to their neighbours. Tenants are responsible for the behaviour
of their visitors.
Not bring onto the premises any portable bottled gas, paraffin or halogen heaters.
Keep the gardens/ yards in a tidy condition and free of rubbish.
Extra work may be required if a property is found to be a non licensable House in Multiple
Occupation (HMO), please see the separate document „Houses in Multiple Occupation Fire
Standards, for non-licensable properties‟
If you are uncertain if their property is in this category please contact a member of Private
Rented Standards on 0114 723 4680 and we can advise you accordingly.
If a property is in a Conservation Area then any external alterations such as new windows,
external doors, rainwater goods or gating off an area or the demolition of out buildings, may
need planning permission.
Planning permission may also be needed for to convert a property into a House in Multiple
Occupation – Please contact the planning department directly if you need any further
clarification on 0114 203 9183, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
June 2011 19 RLS Guidance Notes
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June 2011 20 RLS Guidance Notes
Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), A Short Guide
Sheffield City Council
Private Rented Standards
6th Floor, Derwent House,
150 Arundel Gate,
Sheffield, S1 2JY
Telephone (0114) 273 4680
June 2011 21 RLS Guidance Notes
What is the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)?
This is a new approach to the way in which Councils assess housing conditions. It uses a risk
assessment approach. It provides a system to enable risks to be assessed and has been
introduced by the Housing Act 2004, coming into force on 6 April 2006, replacing the “Fitness
Why the new system?
The fitness standard did not deal with many of the hazards that affected health and safety;
Assessments made under the fitness standard were „property based‟ and did not directly
consider the effect of the particular defect or omission, on the occupant or visitor.
The HHSRS on the other hand addresses all the key issues that affect health and safety, it
provides an analysis of just how hazardous a property is and includes evidence and statistical
information to assist inspectors in making their judgements.
Each year on average, housing conditions are implicated in up to 50,000 deaths and around 0.5
million illnesses requiring medical attention. These statistics and many others form part of the
evidence base of the system and are drawn from extensive research in the UK (in this case the
Home Accident Surveillance System). The fitness standard did not address many of the
conditions that caused these deaths and injuries.
How is the system applied?
Councils have a duty keep the housing conditions in their area under review. Either as a result
of that review, or for some other reason such as a complaint from a tenant or a neighbour, they
can inspect a property if they have reason to think that a health or safety hazard exists there.
The scoring of hazards found during an inspection must be carried out in accordance with the
method set out in the HHSRS Regulations.
As well as providing the legal basis for HHSRS, the 2004 Act contains a package of
enforcement measures for Councils to use. These powers can be used to deal with poor
housing in the private sector, or any housing owned by a public sector landlord such as the
Ministry of Defence, the NHS, a Fire and Rescue Authority or the Police, unless it has Crown
exemption. Councils have a duty to deal with serious „Category 1‟ hazards under HHSRS, and
discretionary powers to deal with less serious „Category 2‟ hazards.
How are assessments made?
The assessment process is not just a question of identifying defects, but is all about risk
assessment, outcomes and effects.
When an inspector finds a hazard, two key tests are applied – what is the likelihood of a
dangerous occurrence as a result of this hazard and if there is such an occurrence, what would
be the likely outcome?
For example a staircase that had a broken stair would represent a serious hazard in that an
occupant could trip or fall down the stairs. However a broken stair at the top of the staircase
would obviously be more dangerous than one at the bottom. If, for example, a glass door was
situated near the bottom of the staircase, that would increase the potential severity of the
outcome even more.
Dwellings are assessed against the average for the type and age of building. The inspector also
judges whether the condition increases or lowers the likelihood of an occurrence that would give
an harm outcome. Hazards are assessed according to their likely impact on people in a
vulnerable group, such as the elderly or the young. The resultant enforcement in relation to the
hazards may be influenced by the presence in the property of the vulnerable group.
Examples of the 29 hazards follow on the next 2 pages. Each hazard is identified with a
brief description of the hazard and the vulnerable group is identified in italics.
June 2011 22 RLS Guidance Notes
1. Damp & Mould 7. Lead. 10. Volatile psychological
Growth. Threats to health organic effect associated
Caused by dust from the ingestion compounds. with the view from
mites, mould or of lead. VOCs are a the dwelling
fungal growths Most vulnerable: diverse group pf through glazing.
caused by Under 3 years organic chemicals,
dampness and/or which include
high humidity. It Most vulnerable: formaldehyde, that
includes threats to No specific group 8. Radiation. are gaseous at
mental healthy This category room temperature,
and social well covers the threats and are found in a
being caused by 5. Biocides. to health from wide variety of
living with damp, Threats to health radon gas and its materials in the Most vulnerable:
damp staining from those daughters, home. No specific group.
and/or mould chemicals used to primarily airborne, Most vulnerable:
growth. treat timber and but also radon No specific group 14. Noise.
Most vulnerable: mould growth in dissolved in water. Threats to physical
14 years or less dwellings. While rare, leakage and mental health
Insecticides and from microwave 11. Crowding and caused by noise
rodenticides to ovens might also space. exposure inside
2. Excess cold. control pest be considered. Health hazards the dwelling or
From sub-optimal infestations (e.g. Evidence of health linked to a lack of within its curtilage.
indoor cockroaches or risks from low-level living space for Most vulnerable:
temperatures. rats and mice), exposure to sleeping and No specific group.
these are not electro-magnetic normal family/
considered for the fields from phone household life.
purpose of the masts have not, to Most vulnerable: 15. Domestic
HHSRS. date, been proven. No specific group. hygiene, pests
Most vulnerable: Most vulnerable: and refuse.
No specific group All persons aged Health hazards due
between 60 and 64 12. Entry by to poor design,
Most vulnerable: years who have intruders. layout and
65 years plus 6. Carbon had lifetime Problems keeping construction to the
monoxide and exposure to radon. a dwelling secure point where the
fuel combustion against dwelling cannot be
products. unauthorised entry readily kept clean
3. Excess Heat. Hazards due to 9. Uncombusted and the and hygienic;
Caused by excess levels of fuel gas. maintenance of access into, and
excessively high carbon monoxide, The threat of defensible space. harbourage within,
indoor air nitrogen dioxide, asphyxiation due to the dwelling for
temperatures. sulphur dioxide and fuel gas escaping pests; and
Most vulnerable: smoke in the into the inadequate and
65 years plus dwellings atmosphere within unhygienic
atmosphere. a dwelling. provision for
Most vulnerable: storing and
CO2 65 years plus, disposal of
4. Asbestos (& NO2, SO2 and Most vulnerable: household waste.
MMF). smoke, No specific group.
Caused by Most vulnerable No
exposure to specific group.
asbestos fibres & 13. Lighting.
manufactured Most vulnerable: Threats to physical
mineral fibres No specific group and mental health
(MMF) linked to
inadequate natural Most vulnerable:
and/or artificial No specific group
light. It includes the
June 2011 23 RLS Guidance Notes
16. Food safety. 20. Falling on is more than 25. Flames, hot 27. Explosions.
Threats of level surfaces etc. 300mm. For surfaces etc. Threat from the
infection due to Falls on any level example, falls out Burns or injuries blast of an
inadequate surface such as of windows, falls caused by contact explosion, from
facilities for the floors, yards and from balconies or with a hot flame or debris generated
storage, paths. It also landings, falls from fire, and contact by the blast, and
preparation and includes falls accessible roofs, with hot objects or from the partial or
cooking of food. associated with trip into basemen hot non-water total collapse of a
Most vulnerable: steps, thresholds, wells, and over based liquids, and building as the
No specific group. or ramps, where garden retaining scalds - injuries result of an
the change in level walls. caused by contact explosion.
is less than Most vulnerable: with hot liquids and Most vulnerable:
17. Personal 300mm. Under 5 years. vapours. It includes No specific group.
hygiene, Most vulnerable: burns caused by
sanitation and 60 years plus. clothing catching
drainage. 23. Electrical alight from a
Threats of infection hazards. controlled fire or 28. Position and
and threats to 21. Falling on Hazards from flame. operability of
mental health stairs etc. electrical shock Most vulnerable: amenities etc.
associated with Fall associated and electricity Under 5 years. Threats of physical
personal hygiene, with stairs, steps burns, including strain associated
including personal and ramps where from lightning with the functional
washing and the change in level strikes. 26. Collision and space and other
clothes washing is greater than entrapment. features at
facilities, sanitation 300mm. It includes This category dwellings.
and drainage. falls on internal includes risks of
Most vulnerable: stairs or ramps physical injury
Children under 5 within the dwelling, from:
stairs or ramps A) trapping body
18. Water supply. within the building, Most vulnerable: parts in
The quality and access to the Under 5 years. architectural
adequacy of the dwelling, and to features, such as Most vulnerable:
water supply for shared facilities or trapping limbs or 60 years plus.
drinking and for means of escape in 24. Fire. fingers in doors or
domestic purposes case of fire. It also Threats from windows. Most
such as cooking, includes falls over uncontrolled fire vulnerable under
washing, cleaning guarding and associated 5 years. 29. Structural
and sanitation. (balustrading). smoke. It includes collapse and
Also threats to injuries from B) Striking falling elements.
health from clothing catching (colliding with) The threat of the
contamination by alight, which objects such as dwelling collapsing,
bacteria, protozoa, appears to be architectural or of an element or
parasites, viruses common when glazing, windows, a part of the fabric
and chemical people attempt to doors, low being displaced or
pollutants. put out a fire. It ceilings and walls. falling because of
Most vulnerable: Most vulnerable: does not include inadequate fixing
No specific group. 60 years plus. clothing catching or disrepair, or as a
alight from a result of adverse
19. Falls controlled fire by weather conditions.
associated with 22. Falling reaching across a Structural failure
baths etc. between levels. gas flame or an may occur
Falls associated Falls from one level open fire used for internally or
with a bath, shower to another inside or space heating. Most vulnerable: externally.
or similar facility. outside a dwelling, Most vulnerable: 16 years over. Most vulnerable:
Most vulnerable: where the 60 years plus. No specific group.
60 years plus difference in levels
June 2011 24 RLS Guidance Notes
Houses in Multiple Occupation, Fire Standards, for non-licensable properties.
This document is available separately on request.
Useful Contact list
Sheffield City Council
Private Sector Housing Telephone 0114 273 4680
Tenancy Relations Telephone 0114 273 5876
Planning Department Telephone 0114 273 4215
Noise nuisance (domestic) Telephone 0114 203 7410
Private Rented Solutions. If you have a vacant property
and are looking for tenants, then please speak to the team: Telephone 0114 205 3112
Local Housing Allowance helpline Telephone 0114 273 6777
Council Tax help line Telephone 0114 273 6633
Sheffield Free Insulation scheme Telephone 0800 915 9096
Community Justice Panels www.sheffield.gov.uk/communityjustice
South Yorkshire Energy Centre Telephone 0114 258 4574
University of Sheffield - propertywithUS Telephone 0114 222 6058
Sheffield Hallam University Accommodation Office Telephone 0114 225 5555
Non- emergency number Telephone 101
Gas leaks- Emergency number Telephone 0800 111 999
Yorkshire Water Services Ltd Telephone 0845 124 2424
June 2011 25 RLS Guidance Notes