CO Advice, Fire Safety

What is the Housing Act 2004?

Read more on the requirements of the Housing Act 2004 which received Royal Assent on 18th November 2004.

The Housing Act 2004 replaced the existing housing fitness standard with the Housing Health and Safety Rating System.

It introduced mandatory HMO licensing, additional & selective licensing and the tenancy deposit protection scheme and is the main housing legislation used by local councils in England and Wales.

Housing Conditions and Enforcement

The Housing Act 2004 places a duty on local councils to take enforcement action against landlords if they identify seriously hazardous conditions in a rented home.

The act introduced a new method of assessing housing conditions and concentrates on health and safety in the home with hazards identified and classified as either a Category 1 or a Category 2 hazard. The Council must take enforcement action to deal with Category 1 hazards and may take action to deal with Category 2 hazards.

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System currently sets out 29 hazards, including fire, damp, cold, trips and falls.

Private Sector Housing Officers will be looking for the following hazards in the home

Physiological Requirements:

  • Damp and mould growth
  • Excess cold
  • Excess heat
  • Asbestos (and man-made fibres)
  • Biocides
  • Carbon monoxide etc
  • Lead
  • Radiation
  • Uncombusted fuel gas
  • Volatile Organic Compounds
  • Psychological Requirements:
  • Crowding and space
  • Entry by intruders
  • Lighting
  • Noise
  • Protection Against Infection:
  • Domestic hygiene, pests and refuse
  • Food Safety
  • Personal hygiene, sanitation and drainage
  • Water supply

Protection Against Accidents:

  • Falls associated with baths
  • Falls on the level
  • Falls associated with stairs and steps
  • Falls between levels
  • Electrical hazards
  • Fire
  • Flames, Hot surfaces etc
  • Collision and entrapment
  • Explosions
  • Position and operability of amenities etc
  • Structural collapse and falling elements

For more information, view guidance on the Government website or review other UK standards and regulations.


*Please note: The above summary is based on FireAngel’s interpretation of The Housing Act 2004, always refer to the standard for specific guidance