Inspecting your property: what to expect

All councils have legal powers to ensure that rented accommodation, in particular Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), are suitable to live in and that there are minimal risks to the health and safety of the tenants and visitors. This  means we have to carry out inspections – either in reaction to a request or complaint, or as part of our statutory duty to ensure that properties are kept to a particular standard.

The inspection

Officers from Environmental Health will carry out investigations and inspections. The inspectors will always carry an identification card with a photograph.

They have the right to enter and inspect rented property at all reasonable hours, as long as we have given 24 hours notice. On some occasions we do not have to make an appointment and may come without advance notice.

Officers should:

  • have a courteous manner and show identification
  • give feedback from any inspection such as information about defects and guidance on how the property should be improved
  • make a clear distinction between what is recommended as good practice and what is required by law, and state what law is being broken
  • give reasons in writing for any action you are asked to take
  • give reasonable time to carry out any necessary actions
  • give details of how you can complain about the council action

The officers will assess the property for a broad range of hazards that could affect the health and safety of occupants. The system they use is called the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). Officers are impartial and the purpose of the inspection is to identify potential hazards.

We will try to work with landlords to make sure the work undertaken meets legal requirements and standards. However, if a property is hazardous or in a poor condition that doesn’t meet minimum standards, or when landlords have failed to keep on top of the repairs and maintenance, we may serve legal notices requiring improvement or remedial works.