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An Introduction to the Housing Act 2004

The Housing Act 2004 came into UK legislation on 6 April 2006 and applies to all houses in the UK. It creates a fairer and better housing market for all those who own, rent or let residential property while protecting those most vulnerable. Most of the provisions came into force on 6 April 2006, however, there are transitional arrangements for the implementation of the remainder of the Act.

Housing Health and Safety Rating System - HHSRS
This replaces the fitness standard for houses. It is a risk based system for deciding whether a house is healthy and safe. 29 hazards are assessed, and the likelihood of injury or ill health from each hazard is calculated. Enforcement powers now cover matters that previously could not be dealt with such as the risk of falls and tripping.

Home Information Pack
Since 14 December 2007 every home put on the market, no matter what size, will require a Home Information Pack (HIP). Hip's include all the relevant information needed at the start of the home buying and selling process including a home condition report, proof of title and all relevant permissions and approvals. The Pack includes the following documents:

Further information can be obtained from the Home Information Pack website which also cantains a sample Pack

Energy Efficiency Assessment
An Energy Efficiency assessment will be required in every home information pack.

Houses in Multiple Occupation - HMOs
These include bed-sits and other houses/flats which are occupied by people from more than one family. A new definition brings many houses into this category, including student shared houses. Standards for amenities, room sizes and management apply to these houses. Click here to go to a Landlord's Guide to Houses in Multiple Occupation.

Licensing of HMOs
Larger higher risk HMOs must be licensed by the local authority. There is a power for local authorities to license smaller HMOs to address particular problems that may exist. Licences will last for 5 years. A tenant of an HMO which should be licensed but is not can apply to have their rent repaid. Click here to download a Guide to HMO Licensing [237kb].

Selective Licensing of Private Landlords
Problems such as low housing demand or anti-social behaviour can be dealt with by the selective licensing of landlords by the local authority.

Tenancy Deposit Schemes
Where a deposit is required these will be safeguarded by a scheme sponsored by the Government.

Empty Properties
An Empty Dwelling Management Order can be made on properties that have been empty for at least 6 months. The property is brought back into use with the owner retaining ownership.

Please see relevant downloads regarding the Housing Act on the downloads page.

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