Housing Act 2004

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation2004 c. 34


HOUSING ACT 2004

2004 CHAPTER 34

An Act to make provision about housing conditions; to regulate houses in multiple occupation and certain other residential accommodation; to make provision for home information packs in connection with the sale of residential properties; to make provision about secure tenants and the right to buy; to make provision about mobile homes and the accommodation needs of gypsies and travellers; to make other provision about housing; and for connected purposes.

[18th November 2004]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

1 Housing conditions

Part 1

Housing conditions

Chapter 1

Enforcement of housing standards: general

New system for assessing housing conditions

New system for assessing housing conditions

S-1 New system for assessing housing conditions and enforcing

1 New system for assessing housing conditions and enforcing

housing standards

(1) This Part provides—

(a) for a new system of assessing the condition of residential premises, and

(b) for that system to be used in the enforcement of housing standards in relation to such premises.

(2) The new system—

(a) operates by reference to the existence of category 1 or category 2 hazards on residential premises (see section 2), and

(b) replaces the existing system based on the test of fitness for human habitation contained in section 604 of the Housing Act 1985 (c. 68).

(3) The kinds of enforcement action which are to involve the use of the new system are—

(a) the new kinds of enforcement action contained in Chapter 2 (improvement notices, prohibition orders and hazard awareness notices),

(b) the new emergency measures contained in Chapter 3 (emergency remedial action and emergency prohibition orders), and

(c) the existing kinds of enforcement action dealt with in Chapter 4 (demolition orders and slum clearance declarations).

(4) In this Part ‘residential premises’ means—

(a) a dwelling;

(b) an HMO;

(c) unoccupied HMO accommodation;

(d) any common parts of a building containing one or more flats.

(5) In this Part—

‘building containing one or more flats’ does not include an HMO;

‘common parts’, in relation to a building containing one or more flats, includes—

(a) the structure and exterior of the building, and

(b) common facilities provided (whether or not in the building) for persons who include the occupiers of one or more of the flats;

‘dwelling’ means a building or part of a building occupied or intended to be occupied as a separate dwelling;

‘external common parts’, in relation to a building containing one or more flats, means common parts of the building which are outside it;

‘flat’ means a separate set of premises (whether or not on the same floor)—

(a) which forms part of a building,

(b) which is constructed or adapted for use for the purposes of a dwelling, and

(c) either the whole or a material part of which lies above or below some other part of the building;

‘HMO’ means a house in multiple occupation as defined by sections 254 to 259, as they have effect for the purposes of this Part (that is, without the exclusions contained in Schedule 14);

‘unoccupied HMO accommodation’ means a building or part of a building constructed or adapted for use as a house in multiple occupation but for the time being either unoccupied or only occupied by persons who form a single household.

(6) In this Part any reference to a dwelling, an HMO or a building containing one or more flats includes (where the context permits) any yard, garden, outhouses and appurtenances belonging to, or usually enjoyed with, the dwelling, HMO or building (or any part of it).

(7) The following indicates how this Part applies to flats—

(a) references to a dwelling or an HMO include a dwelling or HMO which is a flat (as defined by subsection (5)); and

(b) subsection (6) applies in relation to such a dwelling or HMO as it applies in relation to other dwellings or HMOs (but it is not to be taken as referring to any common parts of the building containing the flat).

(8) This Part applies to unoccupied HMO accommodation as it applies to an HMO, and references to an HMO in subsections (6) and (7) and in the following provisions of this Part are to be read accordingly.

S-2 Meaning of ‘category 1 hazard’ and ‘category 2 hazard’

2 Meaning of ‘category 1 hazard’ and ‘category 2 hazard’

(1) In this Act—

‘category 1 hazard’ means a hazard of a prescribed description which falls within a prescribed band as a result of achieving, under a prescribed method for calculating the seriousness of hazards of that description, a numerical score of or above a prescribed amount;

‘category 2 hazard’ means a hazard of a prescribed description which falls within a prescribed band as a result of achieving, under a prescribed method for calculating the seriousness of hazards of that description, a numerical score below the minimum amount prescribed for a category 1 hazard of that description; and

‘hazard’ means any risk of harm to the health or safety of an actual or potential occupier of a dwelling or HMO which arises from a deficiency in the dwelling or HMO or in any building or land in the vicinity (whether the deficiency arises as a result of the construction of any building, an absence of maintenance or repair, or otherwise).

(2) In subsection (1)—

‘prescribed’ means prescribed by regulations made by the appropriate national authority (see section 261(1)); and

‘prescribed band’ means a band so prescribed for a category 1 hazard or a category 2 hazard, as the case may be.

(3) Regulations under this section may, in particular, prescribe a method for calculating the seriousness of hazards which takes into account both the likelihood of the harm occurring and the severity of the harm if it were to occur.

(4) In this section—

‘building’ includes part of a building;

‘harm’ includes temporary harm.

(5) In this Act ‘health’ includes mental health.

Procedure for assessing housing conditions

Procedure for assessing housing conditions

S-3 Local housing authorities to review housing conditions in their districts

3 Local housing authorities to review housing conditions in their districts

(1) A local housing authority must keep the housing conditions in their area under review with a view to identifying any action that may need to be taken by them under any of the provisions mentioned in subsection (2).

(2) The provisions are—

(a) the following provisions of this Act—

(i) this Part,

(ii) Part 2 (licensing of HMOs),

(iii) Part 3 (selective licensing of other houses), and

(iv) Chapters 1 and 2 of Part 4 (management orders);

(b) Part 9 of the Housing Act 1985 (c. 68) (demolition orders and slum clearance);

(c) Part 7 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 (c. 42) (renewal areas); and

(d) article 3 of the Regulatory Reform (Housing Assistance) (England and Wales) Order 2002 (S.I. 2002/1860).

(3) For the purpose of carrying out their duty under subsection (1) a local housing authority and their officers must—

(a) comply with any directions that may be given by the appropriate national authority, and

(b) keep such records, and supply the appropriate national authority with such information, as that authority may specify.

S-4 Inspections by local housing authorities to see whether category 1 or

4 Inspections by local housing authorities to see whether category 1 or

2 hazards exist

(1) If a local housing authority consider—

(a) as a result of any matters of which they have become aware in carrying out their duty under section 3, or

(b) for any other reason,

that it would be appropriate for any residential premises in their district to be inspected with a view to determining whether any category 1 or 2 hazard exists on those premises, the authority must arrange for such an inspection to be carried out.

(2) If an official complaint about the condition of any residential premises in the district of a local housing authority is made to the proper officer of the authority, and the circumstances complained of indicate—

(a) that any category 1 or category 2 hazard may exist on those premises, or

(b) that an area in the district should be dealt with as a clearance area,

the proper officer must inspect the premises or area.

(3) In this section ‘an official complaint’ means a complaint in writing made by—

(a) a justice of the peace having jurisdiction in any part of the district, or

(b) the parish or community council for a parish or community within the district.

(4) An inspection of any premises under subsection (1) or (2)—

(a) is to be carried out in accordance with regulations made by the appropriate national authority; and

(b) is to extend to so much of the premises as the local housing authority or proper officer (as the case may be) consider appropriate in the circumstances having regard to any applicable provisions of the regulations.

(5) Regulations under subsection (4) may in particular make provision about—

(a) the manner in which, and the extent to which, premises are to be inspected under subsection (1) or (2), and

(b) the manner in which the assessment of hazards is to be carried out.

(6) Where an inspection under subsection (2) has been carried out and the proper officer...

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