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Can You Sell a House With a Prohibition Order?

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Can you sell a house with a prohibition order?  You absolutely can, but you must act quickly.

If you have failed to carry out repairs to your property, the local authority will force you to act.  The local authority can act if there is a hazard that poses a risk to your health or safety, as determined through an assessment under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS).

This article explains the types of actions that a local authority can take under the HHSRS.

Table of Contents

What's a prohibition order?

A prohibition order can be issued if there are one or more Category 1 or Category 2 hazards. This type of order stops the use of either part or all of a building or restricts the type or number of people living there. For instance, an order could specify that a room in an HMO is not to be occupied.

A prohibition order will outline the necessary work that the owner must carry out to regain permission to use the property. It becomes effective 28 days after it is issued. It is important to obtain a copy of the order.

If the terms of the prohibition order mean that the house must not occupied, your tenants will have to leave immediately.  They will expect you or the local authority to rehouse them and may demand compensation to cover their moving costs.

What is an example of a prohibition order?

A prohibition order is a legal document issued by a local housing authority under the Housing Act 2004. It prohibits the use of a residential property, House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), or communal areas due to serious health and safety hazards.

Here’s an example of a prohibition order scenario:

  • A family of four lives in a privately rented terraced house.
  • The house has extensive dampness and mould throughout, causing respiratory problems for the family members.
  • The electrics are faulty and pose a fire risk.
  • The landlord has been informed of the problems but has failed to take action.

The local housing authority can issue a prohibition order in this case, which might state:

  • The entire house is prohibited from being used as living accommodation.
  • The family must vacate the property within 28 days.
  • The landlord is required to carry out repairs to address the damp, mould, and electrical hazards.
  • Once the repairs are completed and the property is deemed safe, the prohibition order can be lifted.

The order will also:

  1. Specify the nature of the hazards.
  2. Explain why the property is unsafe to live in.
  3. Outline the actions that need to be taken to make the property safe.

Inform the occupiers and the landlord of their rights and responsibilities.

Can you sell a house with a prohibition order?
The house has extensive dampness and mould throughout, causing respiratory problems for the family members.

What is a hazard?

A hazard in your home poses a risk to your health or safety. Examples include damp and mould growth, as well as issues related to asbestos, carbon dioxide, or other dangerous gases.

Hazards are categorised based on their severity, with the most serious risks and dangerous hazards falling under Category 1, and less dangerous hazards falling under Category 2.

What are category 1 hazards?

The rating system compares the risks associated with different types of hazards. It should be kept in mind that all types of homes contain inherent hazards, such as stairs and electrical equipment.

Category 1 hazards are those where the most serious harm outcome is identified, such as death, permanent paralysis, permanent loss of consciousness, loss of a limb, or serious fractures.

What are category 2 hazards?

If a hazard is less serious or less urgent, it is categorised as a Category 2 hazard. If you have concerns about the condition of your home, you should get in touch with your landlord.  These are 29 category 2 hazards:

Housing Health and Safety Rating System: The 29 Hazards

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) assesses 29 housing hazards and their impact on the health and safety of current or future occupants of a property. It offers a method for evaluating hazards and determining the best course of action to address them.

If a hazard poses a serious and immediate risk to someone’s health and safety, it is categorized as a Category 1 hazard. Hazards that are less severe or urgent are classified as Category 2 hazards.

If you have concerns about the condition of your home, you should reach out to your landlord if you’re a tenant, or contact the Health and Housing Team at Stafford Borough Council for advice and support.

Whenever hazards are identified, we will collaborate with the landlord or property owner to eliminate or minimize these risks.

Number

Hazard

Health Effects

1

Dampness and the growth of mould

Dampness and the growth of mould can lead to various health issues. These include threats to our physical health from dust mites, mould, and fungus, as well as threats to our mental and social well-being.

Living in damp, humid, and mouldy conditions can hurt our overall health.

Allergies, asthma, effects of toxins from mould and fungal infections

2

Excess cold

Health threats can arise from cold indoor temperatures. A healthy indoor temperature should range from 18°C to 21°C.

Respiratory conditions: flu, pneumonia and bronchitis Cardiovascular conditions: heart attacks and strokes

3

Excess heat

Threats arising from high indoor temperatures.

Dehydration, trauma, stroke, cardiovascular and respiratory

4

Asbestos and MMF

Exposure to asbestos fibres and Manufactured Mineral Fibers (MMF)

Asbestos: Damage to lungs
MMF: Damage to skin, eyes and lungs

5

Biocides

Threats to health can arise from the chemicals used to treat timber and from mold growth.

 

Risk from breathing in, skin contact and swallowing of the chemical

6

Carbon Monoxide and fuel combustion products


Excess levels of carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and smoke

Dizziness, nausea, headaches, disorientation, unconsciousness and breathing problems

7

Lead

Threats to health from lead ingestion from paint, water pipes, soil and fumes from leaded petrol

Lead poisoning causing nervous disorders, mental health and blood production issues

8

Radiation

Health threats from radon gas and its daughters primarily occur through airborne exposure, but can also arise from radon dissolved in water.

Lung cancer caused by exposure, which increases amount and length of exposure

9

Uncombusted fuel gas


Threat from fuel gas escaping into the atmosphere within a property

Suffocation

10

Volatile organic compounds

Threat to health arises from a diverse group of organic chemicals, such as formaldehyde, which are in gaseous form at room temperature.

These chemicals can be found in a wide variety of materials within the home.

Allergies, irritation to the eyes, nose and skin, headaches, nausea, dizziness and drowsiness

11

Crowding and space


Hazards associated with lack of space for living, sleeping and normal household or family life

Psychological distress and mental disorders, increased risk of hygiene issues, accidents and personal space and privacy compromise

12

Entry by intruders


Problems keeping a property secure against unauthorised entry and maintaining defensible space

Fear of burglary occurring, stress and anguish caused by burglary and injuries caused by the intruder

13

Lighting

Threats to physical and mental health can arise from insufficient natural or artificial light.

These threats also include the psychological effects that can result from the view through glazing from a property.

Depression and psychological effects due to lack of natural light.  Eye strain from glare and inadequate light

14

Noise

Threats to physical and mental health arise from being exposed to noise within the property or within its curtilage.

Psychological and physiological changes resulting from lack of sleep, poor concentration, headaches and anxiety

15

Domestic hygiene, pests and refuse

Health hazards can arise from poor design, layout, and construction, which can make it difficult to keep the area clean and hygienic.

This can result in attracting pests and inadequate provision for storing household waste, leading to unhygienic conditions.

Stomach and intestinal disease, infection, asthma, allergies, disease from rats and physical hazards

16

Food safety

Threats of infection arise due to inadequate provision and facilities for storing, preparing, and cooking food.

Stomach and intestinal disease, diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach upset and dehydration

17

Personal hygiene, sanitation and drainage

Threats of infections and threats to mental health are associated with personal hygiene, which includes personal and clothes washing facilities, sanitation, and drainage.

Stomach and intestinal disease, skin infections and depression

18

Water supply

Health threats arise from contamination by bacteria, parasites, viruses, and chemical pollutants due to the poor quality of water supply for household use.

This includes drinking, cooking, washing, and sanitation purposes.

Dehydration, fatigue, headaches, dry skin, bladder infections and legionnaires disease

19

Falls associated with baths

Falls related to a bath, shower, or similar facility.

Physical injuries: cuts, lacerations, swellings and bruising.

20

Falls on level surfaces

Falls can occur on any level surface, such as floors, yards, and paths.

This includes falls that are associated with tripping over steps, thresholds, or ramps where the change in level is less than 300mm.

Physical injuries: bruising, fractures, head, brain and spinal injuries

21

Falls associated with stairs and steps

Falls related to stairs and ramps that have a change in level greater than 300mm are included in this category.

This includes internal stairs or ramps within a property, external steps or ramps associated with the property, access to the property, and access to shared facilities or means of escape in case of fire. It also includes falls over stairs, ramps, or step guarding.

Physical injuries: bruising, fractures, head, brain and spinal injuries

22

Falls between levels

Falls from one level to another, whether inside or outside a dwelling where the difference is more than 300mm, are included.

This also encompasses falls from balconies, landings, or out of windows.

Physical injuries

23

Electrical hazards


Hazards from electric shock and electricity burns

Electric shock and burns

24

Fire

Threats to health from exposure to uncontrolled fire and the smoke it produces include injuries from clothing catching fire, which is a common occurrence when attempting to extinguish a fire.

Burns, being overcome by smoke or death

25

Flames, hot surfaces and materials

Burns or injuries can occur when you come into contact with a hot flame or fire, hot objects, or non-water-based liquids.

Scalds can happen when you come into contact with hot liquids and vapours.

Burns, scalds, permanent scarring and death.

26

Collision and entrapment

Risks of physical injuries can arise when body parts get trapped in architectural features like doors and windows.

Additionally, collisions with objects such as windows, doors, and low ceilings can also lead to injuries.

Physical injuries such as cuts and bruising to the body

27

Explosions

Threats may arise from an explosion, including the blast itself, debris generated by the blast, and the potential partial or total collapse of a building resulting from the explosion.

Physical injuries, crushing, bruising, puncture, fractures, head, brain and spinal injuries.

28

Ergonomics

Threats of physical strain associated with functional space and other features at the dwelling.

Strain and sprain injuries

29

Structural collapse and falling elements

The dwelling is at risk of collapsing or experiencing displacement or falling of its fabric due to inadequate fixing, disrepair, or adverse weather conditions.

Physical injuries

What are category 2 hazards?
It should be kept in mind that all types of homes contain inherent hazards, such as stairs and electrical equipment.

Can you appeal a prohibition order?

You have the right to appeal against a prohibition order within 28 days. Landlords can be prosecuted and fined for not complying with the terms of a prohibition order.

The local authority may temporarily suspend a prohibition order if they believe it is safe to postpone the necessary work.

What can the local authority do under the HHSRS?

The local authority has various ways to take action against poor housing conditions using the HHSRS. These methods include:

Serving a hazard awareness notice

Issuing an improvement notice

 Imposing a prohibition order

Implementing emergency measures

Issuing a demolition order

 Declaring a clearance area.

What's a hazard awareness notice?

A hazard awareness notice is sent to your landlord when there is a Category 1 or 2 hazard in your home. This notice describes the hazard and provides instructions for your landlord on what actions they should take.

It is important to request a copy of the notice, although your landlord is not obligated to take any action.

Can you appeal a prohibition order
The local authority may temporarily suspend a prohibition order if they believe it is safe to postpone the necessary work.

What's an improvement notice?

An improvement notice is issued when your landlord needs to carry out work to address a Category 1 or 2 hazard or both.

The notice will clearly state the hazard, its cause, the work required from the landlord, the start date of the work (which cannot be earlier than 28 days after the notice is served), and the deadline for completion. You should also receive a copy of the notice.

Your landlord can appeal the notice within 21 days. If the landlord doesn’t do the necessary work or if the work starts but doesn’t make reasonable progress, the local authority may step in and do the work themselves. They can then claim the cost of the work from the landlord. If the landlord fails to comply with the terms of the improvement notice, they may face prosecution and fines.

The local authority may opt to suspend an improvement notice if it deems it safe to postpone the work.

What are emergency measures?

Emergency measures are put in place to ensure the safety and well-being of individuals in certain situations. These measures are taken by the local authority when there is a high risk of serious harm occurring imminently.

In such cases, the local authority has the right to access the property and take immediate action to eliminate the hazard. Both the tenant and the landlord will be notified through a notice if emergency action is taken.

It is important to note that the local authority has the power to recover the costs of the work from the landlord.

If you disagree with the emergency measures that have been implemented, you have the right to appeal within 28 days. It is crucial to follow the proper channels and procedures to ensure that your concerns are addressed appropriately.

What are demolition orders and clearance areas?

Demolition orders are issued by the local authority when it decides to demolish a building. The landlord must demolish the property and board up the site. As a tenant, you have the right to be rehoused or compensated.

If all buildings in an area are dangerous, the local authority can declare a clearance area and rehouse the residents.

What's an improvement notice
Appeals against local authority enforcement measures under the HHSRS are handled by the Property Chamber in England and the Residential Property Tribunal in Wales.

Appeals against local authority action

Appeals against local authority enforcement measures under the HHSRS are handled by the Property Chamber in England and the Residential Property Tribunal in Wales.

In England, you can find guidance on applying to the Property Chamber on the Ministry of Justice website.

For guidance on Housing Act 2004 cases, visit www.justice.gov.uk.

In Wales, you can find guidance on the HHSRS and appeals on the Residential Property Tribunal for Wales website.

For guidance on the HHSRS, visit www.rpt.wales.gov.uk.

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