29 October, 2014
The government has dismissed a campaign for landlords to have greater powers to access the homes of tenants in order to carry out an annual gas safety inspection. The campaign, led by Home Group, the Association of Gas Safety Managers and Corgi, sought a change in the law to give housing associations the same abilities as local authorities to carry out annual gas safety checks in a timely manner.
Despite the campaign receiving support from 116 housing associations, a number of MPs and British Gas, the campaign has received a major blow by being rejected by the government. In responding to the campaign, a spokesperson for the Department for Communities and Local Government announced that they are 'yet to see hard evidence of why landlords are unable to exercise these contractual rights, especially given such checks are in tenants' own interests.' The spokesperson added that the government is in fact 'committed to scaling back powers of entry.'
Additionally, the Tenants and Residents Organisations of England have spoken out against the campaign and raised concerns about housing associations misusing the power to access properties as a result of tenants failing to make or keep appointments.
Despite the blow to the campaign, landlords should be reassured that there are other legal remedies available to ensure timely access to properties to carry out the annual gas safety check. Here at Forbes we have worked alongside a number of Registered Providers to ensure they have a robust policy in place to deal with tenants who refuse access, complemented with swift legal action once their internal procedure has been exhausted.