10 December, 2014
This month, the Homes and Communities Agency ('HCA') has issued another regulatory notice following the failure of a social landlord to ensure that they complied with annual gas safety inspections to secure the safety of their tenants.
In this instance, Yorkshire Housing Limited contacted the HCA to inform them that during a management audit a number of properties with out of date gas safety certificates were identified. The management audit was commissioned following an internal audit which had identified concerns regarding data integrity.
The HCA has reported that they received evidence from Yorkshire Housing of a failure to adhere to Regulation 36 Gas Safety (Installations and Use) Regulations 1998 and in particular the requirement for a gas safety check to be completed annually by a gas safe engineer. The evidence showed that the annual safety checks were overdue in a significant number of cases. The HCA considered this to be clear evidence of a breach of a statutory regulation and was therefore a breach of the HCA's Home Standard in respect of the requirement to comply with all relevant statutory regulations in respect of the health and safety of occupants in their home. The HCA also considered that the breach of the Gas Safety Regulations exposed a substantial number of tenants to the potential of serious harm for lengthy. Despite the action Yorkshire Housing has taken to rectify the breach, the HCA is of the view that they have breached the Home Standard.
The HCA has stated that they are working with Yorkshire Housing to address the issues which led to the breach of the Gas Safety Regulations and subsequently breached the Homes Standard, but the HCA have yet to decide whether any further action will be taken against Yorkshire Housing.
This Regulatory Notice will be another reminder to landlords of the importance of ensuring the correct policies and procedures are in place to ensure a gas safety inspection is carried out annually. Here at Forbes we have worked alongside a number of Registered Providers to ensure they have robust policies and procedures in place to diarise due dates, deal with tenants who refuse access, and this is then complemented with swift legal action once their internal procedure has been exhausted.