More than 60 housing associations have thrown their weight behind the Gas Access Campaign, helping it to reach the 1 million homes milestone.
Spearheaded by social housing provider Home Group, in conjunction with the Association of Gas Safety Managers (AGSM) and CORGI Technical Services, the campaign was launched in September to make it easier for housing providers to access homes to check gas appliances.
Current law enables local authorities to apply to a court to gain lawful entry into homes within 24 hours of refusal by a tenant, whereas it can take housing associations up to four months to legally gain entry.
Sixty-one housing associations – including Affinity Sutton, Gentoo, L&Q, Halton Housing, Riverside and South Yorkshire Housing Association – have now joined Home Group’s call for registered providers to be granted the same timely access to homes as their local authority counterparts.
“The law as it stands is putting lives at risk and costing housing providers millions,” said Mark Henderson, Home Group’s chief executive. “The Gas Access campaign really seems to have struck a chord with those in the sector. The fact that we’ve hit the 1 million mark so quickly after launching the campaign shows the appetite out there to tackle this issue.
“Other housing associations clearly share our frustration that, as landlords, we’re quite rightly legally obliged to ensure the gas safety of our properties on an annual basis, yet the law makes it tortuously difficult to gain access when a tenant is being uncooperative.
“Faulty boilers and flues don’t just have the potential to kill those in the household where they are situated – the effects can be devastating to neighbours. All it needs is amending a couple of paragraphs in the Law. We trust the new Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis is on board with this campaign.”
Claire Heyes, chief executive of the AGSM, added: “This is a major milestone in the Gas Access campaign and we are delighted to have achieved it. This level of support is no surprise, as we have been listening to our members’ frustrations for some time and now they are instrumental in bringing about this much-needed change. Gas Managers across the UK are working with their directors and CEOs to raise awareness and generate support – housing providers are fully aware of the significance of this campaign.”
She continued: “We won’t stop here though, as the stakes are too high and the consequences of inaction too serious and far reaching. Working together, we will continue to keep the pressure on the Minister, MPs and the government to implement the changes that the sector desperately needs.”