Private Sector Housing
The Environmental Health Team of the Public
Protection service deals with a number of issues relating to
private sector housing, both for owner-occupied and tenanted
properties, this includes housing conditions, immigration
inspections and private drainage issues.
It has been proven that improvements in housing conditions lead
to direct health benefits and so these interventions not only
impact on the private rented sector but on the community as a
We are responsible for the enforcement of legislation relating
to housing conditions, drainage issues and public health
Housing Conditions, Drainage
& Immigration Inspections
Housing Conditions in the private rented sector
We offer a service to private tenants, home owners and
landlords. The Environmental Health team can help you with
the following housing related issues:
- Poor housing conditions affecting your health, safety or well
- assessing your property under the Health and Safety Rating
System (HHSRS) click here
for more information on HHSRS
- Electricity, gas or water cut offs
- Faulty heating systems
- Damp & Mould Growth problems
- Licensing and poor conditions in houses in multiple occupation
(HMO) click here for
Your property must be dry, safe and structurally stable.
It must have adequate heating, drainage, lighting, ventilation,
toilet and bathing facilities. It should meet minmum health
and safety standards.
Our aim is to encourage high standards of accommodation, repair
and good management in the private rented sector. Where
necessessary we will enforce the legal standards which apply to
housing conditions.minimum health and safety standards.
When a repair needs doing, the tenant must first tell the
landlord as soon as possible and ideally in writing (keep a copy
for yourself) or if it is an emergency repair by phone.
You must give the landlord a 'reasonable time' to carry out the
repairs reported. There is no hard and fast rules about how
long work should take, it depends on the urgency of the job.
If you are a tenant and the repair isn't done in a reasonable
time, even after informing the landlord, DO NOT STOP PAYING
RENT'. Contact us and we can carry out a housing inspection
under the Housing Act 2004.
Where necessary we can carry out a full housing inspection this
is called a Housing Health & Safety Rating System (HHSRS) inspection. A
time and date will be arranged with you to carry out the
inspection. We are legaly obliged to contact the landlord
first to advise them that a formal inspection will be carried
The HHSRS inspection involves inspecting all rooms within the
property and an external inspection of roofs and walls
Once the inspection is completed officers will assess the
property in accordance with the Housing Health & Safety
System. Disrepair issues found during the inspection will be
categorised as CAT1 or CAT 2 hazards.
Legal notices can be served on the property owner for CAT1
hazards. There are various notices that can be served
including a Prohibition Order for serious issues that have a
imminent risk to the occupiers this notice can prohibit
part or all the property from being used. Improvement Notices
can be served on the landlord for CAT1 hazards this will list all
defects that need to be resolved, remedial action that needs to be
carried out and a time scale for the works to be completed.
If these notices are not complied with then legal action can be
taken including carrying out works in default, prosection or
Notices or advisory letters can be served on the owner of the
property for less serious issues which have been classed
as CAT2 hazards. These letters and notices are only to make
the owner aware of the issues found but will be kept on file for
You will be informed of any actions taken and a copy of any
There are some useful links at the bottom of this page regarding
issues with private rented properties.
From 1st April 2013 a charge applies to all
the Housing Act 2004 notices and orders served by the
Council. A full list of charges click on the link
Click here for charges
People moving into Northumberland County Council area
to live, from a country outside the EEC have to confirm that they
are moving into accommodation that is of a suitable standard that
will not be made overcrowded by their arrival.
A named individual normally has to sponsor the person(s) moving
into the area and this individual or sponsor is asked by the
immigration authority for proof that the property being moved into,
is suitable. The survey is designed to ensure that the
accommodation meets the following criteria :-
- the minimum housing standard under the Housing Act 2004
- is in a reasonable state of repair, and
- has sufficient space to accommodate both the existing occupiers
and any additional people who propose to live there.
If you require a immigration inspection please call 0845 600
6400 and we will then send you a form to complete. Details of
the current occupants and details of the person(s) moving will need
to be given with all dates of birth. A current CP12 gas
certificate must also be seen if there are any gas appliances in
There is a charge for immigration inspections carried
out. Click on link below for a full list of
Click here for charges
Private sewers and lateral drains have transfered ownership
from private individuals to water and sewerage companies (from 1st
October 2011). The transfer includes all drains and sewers that are
connected to the current public sewerage system.
In the Northumbrian Water area, the change will see 13,500
kilometres of private sewer pipes, on top of the 16,000 kilometres
of public sewers they already look after be taken over by
We believe the transfer is good news for customers. It will
provide greater clarity on ownership and responsibilities, and lead
to less disputes with property owners.
It is thought that private sewage pumping stations will transfer
ownership by October 2016. Private sewage works and the sewers and
lateral drains upstream of these sewage works will not change
For further information including videos and answers to some
frequently asked questions please click on link below:-.
Remember you are still
responsible for the section of pipe that only
serves your property and is inside
the property boundry. If a blockage occurs in
a section of pipe that is shared or outside the boundry
of the property then the matter should be passed
to Northumbria Water on the number below. If you
are unsure where the blockage is located then contact Northumbria
Water on the number below who will investigate.
Northumbria Water - Customer
Services 0845 717 1100.
Any other advice you require regarding
housing condition, immigration inspections or private drainage then
contact 0845 600 6400.
Private Sector Housing Useful Links
Housing Health & Safety Rating System
Gas Safety -
Tenants (external link to the HSE webpage)
Safety - Home Owners (external link to the HSE
Gas Safety -
Landlords / Letting Agents (external link to the
with condensation and mould growth (pdf)
Landlord Accreditation Scheme