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The HHSRS was introduced under the Housing Act 2004, and became effective from 1 April 2006 and replaced the housing fitness standard. The Government introduced the system as the way of deciding whether the housing conditions of residential premises are satisfactory. It looks at whether premises have any defects that may give rise to hazard, which in turn could cause harm to the occupiers, or any visitors. A residential property should be capable of satisfying the basic fundamental needs for the everyday life of a household, such as providing shelter, space and facilities for the occupants.
The HHSRS assesses 29 housing hazards and the effects that each may have on the health and safety of the current or future occupant or any visitor to the property. It applies to all residential properties irrespective of whether they are occupied by a homeowner or tenant. It is not possible to completely remove all risk of harm from within a property, but the system provides a way that hazards can be assessed and to decide on what is the best way of dealing with them .