Rented accommodation must comply with certain basic legal standards set out in the Housing Acts, Environmental Protection Act and Landlord and Tenant Act, as well as Planning and Building Control legislation.

Housing health and safety rating system

The Housing Act introduced the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) in 2006 as a means of identifying and evaluating defects and deficiencies that may have a potential effect on the health and safety of the occupiers and visitors in a dwelling or house in multiple occupation.

A rating score is produced for each hazard and used to determine what, if any, action needs to be taken to make a property safe. In Portsmouth, any action taken by the council considers:

  • the rating score as determined by the HHSRS
  • whether we have a duty or a power to act depending on the severity of the hazards identified
  • what the most appropriate course of action is to deal with the hazard.

All residential premises should provide a safe and healthy environment for any potential occupier or visitor. To meet this principle, a dwelling (including paths, yards, gardens, outbuildings and boundary structures) should be designed, constructed and maintained with non-hazardous materials and should be free from both unnecessary and avoidable hazards. More information on HHSRS is available in the documents at the foot of the page.

Generally, the landlord or owner is responsible for the provision, state and proper working order of the following:

Exterior and structural elements including:

  • doors, roofs, walls and windows
  • load bearing elements
  • means of access and amenity space

Internal installations associated with:

  • food safety including kitchen facilities for food storage and preparation, sinks and sufficient socket outlets
  • personal hygiene, sanitation and drainage, including drains, toilets, wash basins, baths and showers
  • space, ventilation and water heating
  • the supply and use of water, gas and electricity

Also considered:

  • in the case of houses in multiple occupation, the adequacy of management arrangements
  • the safety of gas installations and appliances
  • the condition of the electrical installation including portable appliances provided by the landlord
  • the safety of the furniture, furnishings and other upholstered products provided by the landlord

This responsibility does not generally extend to internal decoration or to fixtures and fittings that are provided by the occupier – there is an additional licensing amenity standard that sets out the facilities required in houses in multiple occupation that are subject to the licensing provisions.

Gas, electrical appliances and furniture safety

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System also takes gas and electrical appliances/installations, as well as furniture, into consideration. Please read the documents at the foot of the page for more information.


Specific regulations require that gas appliances and any installation pipe work at a rented property be maintained in a safe condition and non-hazardous to the occupiers. Each appliance must be subject to a safety check at least once every 12 months by a Gas Safe registered contractor and a proper record kept of the inspection and any repairs / replacements carried out.

Electrical appliances

It is recommended that electrical installations are inspected and tested at regular intervals by a competent electrician. New circuitry alterations in the kitchen or bathroom are subject to building regulation control. Used electrical appliances supplied during the course of a tenancy must be reasonably safe and regularly tested. Further information can be sought from the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting and the Electrical Contractors Association.


Specific regulations require furniture in rented accommodation provided by landlords to meet necessary fire-resistance requirements.

Never miss an update - sign up to our newsletter for landlords

Need to get in touch?