This week is Gas Access Week, an event designed to promote the ongoing Gas Access Campaign. We’re keen supporters of this campaign, which aims to change the laws surrounding the rights social housing associations have regarding gas safety checks.
Each year, we are legally obliged to check that the gas appliances and flues in our properties are safe. We do this by sending a Gas Safe-register engineer to each of our homes. As part of their tenancy agreements, the majority of our residents must allow us into their homes to perform these checks. (Leaseholders, including shared owners, are responsible for carrying out their own gas safety checks each year). For the most part, our residents are very cooperative with this process. They understand how important these checks are in terms of keeping themselves and their families safe.
However, the Gas Access Campaign recognises that housing associations can sometimes face difficulty in obtaining access to residents’ homes for gas checks. The reasons for this are varied, but the process we have to follow is the same regardless. If a resident continually fails to make or keep gas safety appointments, we will have to take legal action in the form of a County Court injunction, which gives us access to their home to undertake the checks.
What changes does the campaign want to see?
It’s simple – give housing associations the same rights as their local authority counterparts when it comes to undertaking annual gas checks.
“The law gives local authorities the right to enter their homes using a warrant that they can get from a Magistrates Court on the day they apply for access,” says the campaign’s website. “This makes sure that tenants are safe and sound immediately, and that neighbours can rest easy in their homes.”
Although the Government is aware of the issue, no legal changes have been introduced as yet. That’s why this week, we (along with many other industry bodies and housing associations) are demonstrating our support of the cause.
You can find out more about the Gas Access Campaign on its website and Twitter page.