20 February, 2015
This week, 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, Severn Vale Housing Society contacted the HCA to inform them that, as a result of contact from a tenant, they had identified a property with an overdue gas safety certificate. This is a failure to adhere to Regulation 36 Gas Safety (Installations and Use) Regulations 1998, namely the requirement for a gas safety check to be completed annually by a gas safe engineer.
The overdue service was promptly carried out and an internal review by Severn Vale found no other properties with out of date gas servicing certificates. However, a subsequent independent review identified that the gas data management system was not sufficiently robust to give a full assurance on gas servicing and recommended that a new gas servicing system be implemented. As part of this exercise a data amalgamation process identified further out of date gas safety certificates. In some cases the certificates had been expired for several years.
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 periods.
The overdue servicing has now been completed and Severn Vale has put in place revised procedures in addition to introducing the new gas servicing system. Notwithstanding the action taken by Severn Vale, the HCA is of the view that they failed to meet the Home Standard.
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.
If you have any questions relating to this article, please contact Bethany Paliga by email or on 01772 220241.