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Housing Act 2004 (c. 34)

(The document as of February, 2008)

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Housing Act 2004

2004 CHAPTER 34

CONTENTS

Content
  1. Part 1

    Housing conditions

    1. Chapter 1

      Enforcement of housing standards: general

      1. New system for assessing housing conditions

        1. 1. New system for assessing housing conditions and enforcing housing standards

        2. 2. Meaning of "category 1 hazard" and "category 2 hazard"

      2. Procedure for assessing housing conditions

        1. 3. Local housing authorities to review housing conditions in their districts

        2. 4. Inspections by local housing authorities to see whether category 1 or 2 hazards exist

      3. Enforcement of housing standards

        1. 5. Category 1 hazards: general duty to take enforcement action

        2. 6. Category 1 hazards: how duty under section 5 operates in certain cases

        3. 7. Category 2 hazards: powers to take enforcement action

        4. 8. Reasons for decision to take enforcement action

        5. 9. Guidance about inspections and enforcement action

        6. 10. Consultation with fire and rescue authorities in certain cases

    2. Chapter 2

      Improvement notices, prohibition orders and hazard awareness notices

      1. Improvement notices

        1. 11. Improvement notices relating to category 1 hazards: duty of authority to serve notice

        2. 12. Improvement notices relating to category 2 hazards: power of authority to serve notice

        3. 13. Contents of improvement notices

        4. 14. Suspension of improvement notices

        5. 15. Operation of improvement notices

        6. 16. Revocation and variation of improvement notices

        7. 17. Review of suspended improvement notices

        8. 18. Service of improvement notices etc. and related appeals

        9. 19. Change in person liable to comply with improvement notice

      2. Prohibition orders

        1. 20. Prohibition orders relating to category 1 hazards: duty of authority to make order

        2. 21. Prohibition orders relating to category 2 hazards: power of authority to make order

        3. 22. Contents of prohibition orders

        4. 23. Suspension of prohibition orders

        5. 24. Operation of prohibition orders

        6. 25. Revocation and variation of prohibition orders

        7. 26. Review of suspended prohibition orders

        8. 27. Service of copies of prohibition orders etc. and related appeals

      3. Hazard awareness notices

        1. 28. Hazard awareness notices relating to category 1 hazards: duty of authority to serve notice

        2. 29. Hazard awareness notices relating to category 2 hazards: power of authority to serve notice

      4. Enforcement: improvement notices

        1. 30. Offence of failing to comply with improvement notice

        2. 31. Enforcement action by local housing authorities

      5. Enforcement: prohibition orders

        1. 32. Offence of failing to comply with prohibition order etc.

        2. 33. Recovery of possession of premises in order to comply with order

        3. 34. Power of tribunal to determine or vary lease

      6. Enforcement: improvement notices and prohibition orders

        1. Chapter 3

          Emergency measures

          1. Emergency remedial action

            1. 40. Emergency remedial action

            2. 41. Notice of emergency remedial action

            3. 42. Recovery of expenses of taking emergency remedial action

          2. Emergency prohibition orders

            1. 43. Emergency prohibition orders

            2. 44. Contents of emergency prohibition orders

          3. Appeals

            1. 45. Appeals relating to emergency measures

        2. Chapter 4

          Demolition orders and slum clearance declarations

          1. Demolition orders

            1. 46. Demolition orders

          2. Slum clearance declarations

            1. 47. Clearance areas

          3. Appeals

            1. 48. Transfer of jurisdiction in respect of appeals relating to demolition orders etc.

        3. Chapter 5

          General and miscellaneous provisions relating to enforcement action

          1. Recovery of expenses relating to enforcement action

            1. 49. Power to charge for certain enforcement action

            2. 50. Recovery of charge under section 49

          2. Repeals

            1. 51. Repeal of power to improve existing enforcement procedures

            2. 52. Repeal of provisions relating to demolition of obstructive buildings

            3. 53. Miscellaneous repeals etc. in relation to fire hazards

          3. Index

            1. 54. Index of defined expressions: Part 1

      7. Part 2

        Licensing of houses in multiple occupation

        1. Introductory

          1. 55. Licensing of HMOs to which this Part applies

        2. Designation of additional licensing areas

          1. 56. Designation of areas subject to additional licensing

          2. 57. Designations under section 56: further considerations

          3. 58. Designation needs confirmation or general approval to be effective

          4. 59. Notification requirements relating to designations

          5. 60. Duration, review and revocation of designations

        3. HMOs required to be licensed

          1. 61. Requirement for HMOs to be licensed

          2. 62. Temporary exemption from licensing requirement

        4. Grant or refusal of licences

          1. 63. Applications for licences

          2. 64. Grant or refusal of licence

          3. 65. Tests as to suitability for multiple occupation

          4. 66. Tests for fitness etc. and satisfactory management arrangements

          5. 67. Licence conditions

          6. 68. Licences: general requirements and duration

        5. Variation and revocation of licences

          1. 69. Variation of licences

          2. 70. Revocation of licences

        6. Procedure and appeals

          1. 71. Procedural requirements and appeals against licence decisions

        7. Enforcement

          1. 72. Offences in relation to licensing of HMOs

          2. 73. Other consequences of operating unlicensed HMOs: rent repayment orders

          3. 74. Further provisions about rent repayment orders

          4. 75. Other consequences of operating unlicensed HMOs: restriction on terminating tenancies

        8. Supplementary provisions

          1. 76. Transitional arrangements relating to introduction and termination of licensing

          2. 77. Meaning of "HMO"

          3. 78. Index of defined expressions: Part 2

      8. Part 3

        Selective licensing of other residential accommodation

        1. Introductory

          1. 79. Licensing of houses to which this Part applies

        2. Designation of selective licensing areas

          1. 80. Designation of selective licensing areas

          2. 81. Designations under section 80: further considerations

          3. 82. Designation needs confirmation or general approval to be effective

          4. 83. Notification requirements relating to designations

          5. 84. Duration, review and revocation of designations

        3. Houses required to be licensed

          1. 85. Requirement for Part 3 houses to be licensed

          2. 86. Temporary exemption from licensing requirement

        4. Grant or refusal of licences

          1. 87. Applications for licences

          2. 88. Grant or refusal of licence

          3. 89. Tests for fitness etc. and satisfactory management arrangements

          4. 90. Licence conditions

          5. 91. Licences: general requirements and duration

        5. Variation and revocation of licences

          1. 92. Variation of licences

          2. 93. Revocation of licences

        6. Procedure and appeals

          1. 94. Procedural requirements and appeals against licence decisions

        7. Enforcement

          1. 95. Offences in relation to licensing of houses under this Part

          2. 96. Other consequences of operating unlicensed houses: rent repayment orders

          3. 97. Further provisions about rent repayment orders

          4. 98. Other consequences of operating unlicensed houses: restriction on terminating tenancies

        8. Supplementary provisions

          1. 99. Meaning of "house" etc.

          2. 100. Index of defined expressions: Part 3

      9. Part 4

        Additional control provisions in relation to residential accommodation

        1. Chapter 1

          Interim and final management orders

          1. Introductory

            1. 101. Interim and final management orders: introductory

          2. Interim management orders: making and operation of orders

            1. 102. Making of interim management orders

            2. 103. Special interim management orders

            3. 104. The health and safety condition

            4. 105. Operation of interim management orders

            5. 106. Local housing authority's duties once interim management order in force

            6. 107. General effect of interim management orders

            7. 108. General effect of interim management orders: leases and licences granted by authority

            8. 109. General effect of interim management orders: immediate landlords, mortgagees etc.

            9. 110. Financial arrangements while order is in force

          3. Interim management orders: variation and revocation

            1. 111. Variation of interim management orders

            2. 112. Revocation of interim management orders

          4. Final management orders: making and operation of orders

            1. 113. Making of final management orders

            2. 114. Operation of final management orders

            3. 115. Local housing authority's duties once final management order in force

            4. 116. General effect of final management orders

            5. 117. General effect of final management orders: leases and licences granted by authority

            6. 118. General effect of final management orders: immediate landlords, mortgagees etc.

            7. 119. Management schemes and accounts

            8. 120. Enforcement of management scheme by relevant landlord

          5. Final management orders: variation and revocation

            1. 121. Variation of final management orders

            2. 122. Revocation of final management orders

          6. Interim and final management orders: procedure and appeals

            1. 123. Procedural requirements and appeals

          7. Interim and final management orders: other general provisions

            1. 124. Effect of management orders: occupiers

            2. 125. Effect of management orders: agreements and legal proceedings

            3. 126. Effect of manage

        2. Chapter 2

          Interim and final empty dwelling management orders

          1. Introductory

            1. 132. Empty dwelling management orders: introductory

          2. Interim empty dwelling management orders

            1. 133. Making of interim EDMOs

            2. 134. Authorisation to make interim EDMOs

            3. 135. Local housing authority's duties once interim EDMO in force

          3. Final empty dwelling management orders

            1. 136. Making of final EDMOs

            2. 137. Local housing authority's duties once final EDMO in force

          4. Compensation

            1. 138. Compensation payable to third parties

        3. Chapter 3

          Overcrowding notices

          1. 139. Service of overcrowding notices

          2. 140. Contents of overcrowding notices

          3. 141. Requirement as to overcrowding generally

          4. 142. Requirement as to new residents

          5. 143. Appeals against overcrowding notices

          6. 144. Revocation and variation of overcrowding notices

        4. Chapter 4

          Supplementary provisions

          1. 145. Supplementary provisions

          2. 146. Interpretation and modification of this Part

          3. 147. Index of defined expressions: Part 4

      10. Part 5

        Home information packs

        1. Preliminary

          1. 148. Meaning of "residential property" and "home information pack"

          2. 149. Meaning of "on the market" and related expressions

          3. 150. Acting as estate agent

        2. Responsibility for marketing residential properties

          1. 151. Responsibility for marketing: general

          2. 152. Responsibility of person acting as estate agent

          3. 153. Responsibility of the seller

        3. Duties of a responsible person where a property is on the market

          1. 154. Application of sections 155 to 158

          2. 155. Duty to have a home information pack

          3. 156. Duty to provide copy of home information pack on request

        4. Register of home condition reports

          1. 157. Section 156 (1) duty: imposition of conditions

          2. 158. Duty to ensure authenticity of documents in other situations

        5. Other duties of person acting as estate agent

          1. 159. Other duties of person acting as estate agent

        6. Exceptions from the duties

          1. 160. Residential properties not available with vacant possession

          2. 161. Power to provide for further exceptions

          3. 162. Suspension of duties under sections 155 to 159

        7. Contents of home information packs

          1. 163. Contents of home information packs

          2. 164. Home condition reports

        8. Register of home condition reports

          1. 165. Register of home condition reports

        9. Enforcement

          1. 166. Enforcement authorities

          2. 167. Power to require production of home information packs

          3. 168. Penalty charge notices

          4. 169. Offences relating to enforcement officers

          5. 170. Right of private action

        10. Supplementary

          1. 171. Application of Part to sub-divided buildings

          2. 172. Power to require estate agents to belong to a redress scheme

          3. 173. Approval of redress schemes

          4. 174. Withdrawal of approval of redress schemes

          5. 175. Office of Fair Trading

          6. 176. Grants

          7. 177. Interpretation of Part 5

          8. 178. Index of defined expressions: Part 5

      11. Part 6

        Other provisions about housing

        1. Chapter 1

          Secure tenancies

          1. Introductory tenancies

            1. 179. Extension of introductory tenancies

          2. Right to buy: when exercisable

            1. 180. Extension of qualifying period for right to buy

            2. 181. Exceptions to the right to buy: determination whether exception for dwelling-house suitable for elderly persons applies

            3. 182. Exceptions to the right to buy: houses due to be demolished

            4. 183. Right to buy: claim suspended or terminated by demolition notice

            5. 184. Landlord's notice to complete

          3. Right to buy: discounts

            1. 185. Repayment of discount: periods and amounts applicable

            2. 186. Repayment of discount: increase attributable to home improvements to be disregarded

            3. 187. Deferred resale agreements

          4. Right to buy: landlord's right of first refusal

            1. 188. Right of first refusal for landlord etc.

          5. Right to buy: information

            1. 189. Information to help tenants decide whether to exercise right to buy etc.

          6. Right to buy: termination of rent to mortgage scheme

            1. 190. Termination of rent to mortgage scheme

          7. Suspension of certain rights in connection with anti-social behaviour

            1. 191. Secure tenancies: withholding of consent to mutual exchange

            2. 192. Right to buy: suspension by court order

            3. 193. Right to buy: suspension of landlord's obligation to complete

            4. 194. Disclosure of information as to orders etc. in respect of anti-social behaviour

        2. Chapter 2

          Disposals attracting discounts other than under right to buy

          1. Disposals by local authorities

            1. 195. Repayment of discount: periods and amounts applicable

            2. 196. Repayment of discount: increase attributable to home improvements to be disregarded

            3. 197. Local authority's right of first refusal

            4. 198. Deferred resale agreements

          2. Disposals by registered social landlords

            1. 199. Repayment of discount: periods and amounts payable

            2. 200. Registered social landlord's right of first refusal

            3. 201. Deferred resale agreements

            4. 202. Right of assured tenant to acquire dwelling not affected by collective enfranchisement

          3. Disposals by housing action trusts

            1. 203. Repayment of discount: periods and amounts payable

            2. 204. Housing action trust's right of first refusal

            3. 205. Deferred resale agreements

        3. Chapter 3

          Mobile Homes

          1. Site agreements

            1. 206. Particulars of site agreements to be given in advance

            2. 207. Implied terms relating to termination of agreements or disposal of mobile homes

            3. 208. Power to amend terms implied in site agreements

          2. Protection from eviction etc.

            1. 209. Protected sites to include sites for gypsies

            2. 210. Extension of protection from harassment for occupiers of mobile homes

            3. 211. Suspension of eviction orders

        4. Chapter 4

          Tenancy deposit schemes

          1. 212. Tenancy deposit schemes

          2. 213. Requirements relating to tenancy deposits

          3. 214. Proceedings relating to tenancy deposits

          4. 215. Sanctions for non-compliance

        5. Chapter 5

          Miscellaneous

          1. Overcrowding

            1. 216. Overcrowding

          2. Energy efficiency

            1. 217. Energy efficiency of residential accommodation: England

          3. Registered social landlords

            1. 218. Amendments relating to registered social landlords

            2. 219. Disclosure of information to registered social landlords for the purposes of section 1 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998

          4. Other provisions relating to social housing

            1. 220. Additional power to give grants for social housing

            2. 221. Extension of right to acquire

            3. 222. Rights of pre-emption in connection with assured tenancies

            4. 223. Allocation of housing accommodation by local authorities

          5. Disabled facilities grant

            1. 224. Disabled facilities grant: caravans

          6. Accommodation needs of gypsies and travellers

            1. 225. Duties of local housing authorities: accommodation needs of gypsies and travellers

            2. 226. Guidance in relation to section 225

          7. Annual reports by local housing authorities

            1. 227. Removal of duty on local housing authorities to send annual reports to tenants etc.

          8. Social Housing Ombudsman for Wales

            1. 228. Social Housing Ombudsman for Wales

      12. Part 7

        Supplementary and final provisions

        1. Residential property tribunals

          1. 229. Residential property tribunals

          2. 230. Powers and procedure of residential property tribunals

          3. 231. Appeals from residential property tribunals

        2. Register of licences and management orders

          1. 232. Register of licences and management orders

        3. Codes of practice and management regulations relating to HMOs etc.

          1. 233. Approval of codes of practice with regard to the management of HMOs etc.

          2. 234. Management regulations in respect of HMOs

        4. Information provisions

          1. 235. Power to require documents to be produced

          2. 236. Enforcement of powers to obtain information

          3. 237. Use of information obtained for certain other statutory purposes

          4. 238. False or misleading information

        5. Enforcement

          1. 239. Powers of entry

          2. 240. Warrant to authorise entry

          3. 241. Penalty for obstruction

          4. 242. Additional notice requirements for protection of owners

        6. Authorisations

          1. 243. Authorisations for enforcement purposes etc.

        7. Documents

          1. 244. Power to prescribe forms

          2. 245. Power to dispense with notices

          3. 246. Service of documents

          4. 247. Licences and other documents in electronic form

          5. 248. Timing and location of things done electronically

          6. 249. Proof of designations

        8. Other supplementary provisions

          1. 250. Orders and regulations

          2. 251. Offences by bodies corporate

          3. 252. Power to up-rate level of fines for certain offences

          4. 253. Local inquiries

        9. Meaning of "house in multiple occupation"

          1. 254. Meaning of "house in multiple occupation"

          2. 255. HMO declarations

          3. 256. Revocation of HMO declarations

          4. 257. HMOs: certain converted blocks of flats

          5. 258. HMOs: persons not forming a single household

          6. 259. HMOs: persons treated as occupying pre of numbers of persons

        10. Final provisions

          1. 265. Minor and consequential amendments

          2. 266. Repeals

          3. 267. Devolution: Wales

          4. 268. The Isles of Scilly

          5. 269. Expenses

          6. 270. Short title, commencement and extent

        1. Schedule 1

          Procedure and appeals relating to improvement notices

          1. Part 1

            Service of improvement notices

          2. Part 2

            Service of notices relating to revocation or variation of improvement notices

          3. Part 3

            Appeals relating to improvement notices

        2. Schedule 2

          Procedure and appeals relating to prohibition orders

          1. Part 1

            Service of copies of prohibition orders

          2. Part 2

            Service of notices relating to revocation or variation of prohibition orders

          3. Part 3

            Appeals relating to prohibition orders

        3. Schedule 3

          Improvement notices: enforcement action by local housing authorities

          1. Part 1

            Action taken by agreement

          2. Part 2

            Power to take action without agreement

          3. Part 3

            Recovery of certain expenses

        4. Schedule 4

          Licences under Parts 2 and 3: mandatory conditions

        5. Schedule 5

          Licences under Parts 2 and 3: procedure and appeals

          1. Part 1

            Procedure relating to grant or refusal of licences

          2. Part 2

            Procedure relating to variation or revocation of licences

          3. Part 3

            Appeals against licence decisions

        6. Schedule 6

          Management orders: procedure and appeals

          1. Part 1

            Procedure relating to making of management orders

          2. Part 2

            Procedure relating to variation or revocation of management orders

          3. Part 3

            Appeals against decisions relating to management orders

        7. Schedule 7

          Further provisions regarding empty dwelling management orders

          1. Part 1

            Interim EDMOs

          2. Part 2

            Final EDMOs

          3. Part 3

            Interim and final EDMOs: general provisions (other than provisions relating to appeals)

          4. Part 4

            Appeals

        8. Schedule 8

          Penalty charge notices under section 168

        9. Schedule 9

          New Schedule 5A to the Housing Act 1985: initial demolition notices

        10. Schedule 10

          Provisions relating to tenancy deposit schemes

        11. Schedule 11

          Registered social landlords

        12. Schedule 12

          New Schedule 2A to the Housing Act 1996

        13. Schedule 13

          Residential property tribunals: procedure

        14. Schedule 14

          Buildings which are not HMOs for purposes of this Act (excluding Part 1)

        15. Schedule 15

          Minor and consequential amendments

        16. Schedule 16

          Repeals

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:--



Part 1 Housing conditions

Chapter 1 Enforcement of housing standards: general

<<<< >>>>

New system for assessing housing conditions

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.

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

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.

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 of a local housing authority is of the opinion--

(a) that a category 1 or 2 hazard exists on any residential premises in the authority's district, or

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

the officer must, without delay, make a report in writing to the authority which sets out his opinion together with the facts of the case.

(7) The authority must consider any report made to them under subsection (6) as soon as possible.



Enforcement of housing standards

5 Category 1 hazards: general duty to take enforcement action

(1) If a local housing authority consider that a category 1 hazard exists on any residential premises, they must take the appropriate enforcement action in relation to the hazard.

(2) In subsection (1) "the appropriate enforcement action" means whichever of the following courses of action is indicated by subsection (3) or (4)--

(a) serving an improvement notice under section 11;

(b) making a prohibition order under section 20;

(c) serving a hazard awareness notice under section 28;

(d) taking emergency remedial action under section 40;

(e) making an emergency prohibition order under section 43;

(f) making a demolition order under subsection (1) or (2) of section 265 of the Housing Act 1985 (c. 68);

(g) declaring the area in which the premises concerned are situated to be a clearance area by virtue of section 289(2) of that Act.

(3) If only one course of action within subsection (2) is available to the authority in relation to the hazard, they must take that course of action.

(4) If two or more courses of action within subsection (2) are available to the authority in relation to the hazard, they must take the course of action which they consider to be the most appropriate of those available to them.

(5) The taking by the authority of a course of action within subsection (2) does not prevent subsection (1) from requiring them to take in relation to the same hazard--

(a) either the same course of action again or another such course of action, if they consider that the action taken by them so far has not proved satisfactory, or

(b) another such course of action, where the first course of action is that mentioned in subsection (2)(g) and their eventual decision under section 289(2F) of the Housing Act 1985 means that the premises concerned are not to be included in a clearance area.

(6) To determine whether a course of action mentioned in any of paragraphs (a) to (g) of subsection (2) is "available" to the authority in relation to the hazard, see the provision mentioned in that paragraph.

(7) Section 6 applies for the purposes of this section.

6 Category 1 hazards: how duty under section 5 operates in certain cases

(1) This section explains the effect of provisions contained in subsection (2) of section 5.

(2) In the case of paragraph (b) or (f) of that subsection, the reference to making an order such as is mentioned in that paragraph is to be read as a reference to making instead a determination under section 300(1) or (2) of the Housing Act 1985 (c. 68) (power to purchase for temporary housing use) in a case where the authority consider the latter course of action to be the better alternative in the circumstances.

(3) In the case of paragraph (d) of that subsection, the authority may regard the taking of emergency remedial action under section 40 followed by the service of an improvement notice under section 11 as a single course of action.

(4) In the case of paragraph (e) of that subsection, the authority may regard the making of an emergency prohibition order under section 43 followed by the service of a prohibition order under section 20 as a single course of action.

(5) In the case of paragraph (g) of that subsection--

(a) any duty to take the course of action mentioned in that paragraph is subject to the operation of subsections (2B) to (4) and (5B) of section 289 of the Housing Act 1985 (procedural and other restrictions relating to slum clearance declarations); and

(b) that paragraph does not apply in a case where the authority have already declared the area in which the premises concerned are situated to be a clearance area in accordance with section 289, but the premises have been excluded by virtue of section 289(2F)(b).

7 Category 2 hazards: powers to take enforcement action

(1) The provisions mentioned in subsection (2) confer power on a local housing authority to take particular kinds of enforcement action in cases where they consider that a category 2 hazard exists on residential premises.

(2) The provisions are--

(a) section 12 (power to serve an improvement notice),

(b) section 21 (power to make a prohibition order),

(c) section 29 (power to serve a hazard awareness notice),

(d) section 265(3) and (4) of the Housing Act 1985 (power to make a demolition order), and

(e) section 289(2ZB) of that Act (power to make a slum clearance declaration).

(3) The taking by the authority of one of those kinds of enforcement action in relation to a particular category 2 hazard does not prevent them from taking either--

(a) the same kind of action again, or

(b) a different kind of enforcement action,

in relation to the hazard, where they consider that the action taken by them so far has not proved satisfactory.

8 Reasons for decision to take enforcement action

(1) This section applies where a local housing authority decide to take one of the kinds of enforcement action mentioned in section 5(2) or 7(2) ("the relevant action").

(2) The authority must prepare a statement of the reasons for their decision to take the relevant action.

(3) Those reasons must include the reasons why the authority decided to take the relevant action rather than any other kind (or kinds) of enforcement action available to them under the provisions mentioned in section 5(2) or 7(2).

(4) A copy of the statement prepared under subsection (2) must accompany every notice, copy of a notice, or copy of an order which is served in accordance with--

(a) Part 1 of Schedule 1 to this Act (service of improvement notices etc.),

(b) Part 1 of Schedule 2 to this Act (service of copies of prohibition orders etc.), or

(c) section 268 of the Housing Act 1985 (service of copies of demolition orders),

in or in connection with the taking of the relevant action.

(5) In subsection (4)--

(a) the reference to Part 1 of Schedule 1 to this Act includes a reference to that Part as applied by section 28(7) or 29(7) (hazard awareness notices) or to section 40(7) (emergency remedial action); and

(b) the reference to Part 1 of Schedule 2 to this Act includes a reference to that Part as applied by section 43(4) (emergency prohibition orders).

(6) If the relevant action consists of declaring an area to be a clearance area, the statement prepared under subsection (2) must be published--

(a) as soon as possible after the relevant resolution is passed under section 289 of the Housing Act 1985, and

(b) in such manner as the authority consider appropriate.

9 Guidance about inspections and enforcement action

(1) The appropriate national authority may give guidance to local housing authorities about exercising--

(a) their functions under this Chapter in relation to the inspection of premises and the assessment of hazards,

(b) their functions under Chapter 2 of this Part in relation to improvement notices, prohibition orders or hazard awareness notices,

(c) their functions under Chapter 3 in relation to emergency remedial action and emergency prohibition orders, or

(d) their functions under Part 9 of the Housing Act 1985 (c. 68) in relation to demolition orders and slum clearance.

(2) A local housing authority must have regard to any guidance for the time being given under this section.

(3) The appropriate national authority may give different guidance for different cases or descriptions of case or different purposes (including different guidance to different descriptions of local housing authority or to local housing authorities in different areas).

(4) Before giving guidance under this section, or revising guidance already given, the Secretary of State must lay a draft of the proposed guidance or alterations before each House of Parliament.

(5) The Secretary of State must not give or revise the guidance before the end of the period of 40 days beginning with the day on which the draft is laid before each House of Parliament (or, if copies are laid before each House of Parliament on different days, the later of those days).

(6) The Secretary of State must not proceed with the proposed guidance or alterations if, within the period of 40 days mentioned in subsection (5), either House resolves that the guidance or alterations be withdrawn.

(7) Subsection (6) is without prejudice to the possibility of laying a further draft of the guidance or alterations before each House of Parliament.

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