Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Landlord failed to carry out gas safety checks

A housing association has been criticised by the English social housing regulator for failing to carry out gas safety checks on 160 properties.

In a regulatory notice published today, the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) said 18,000-home Bolton at Home breached the regulator’s ‘serious detriment’ threshold for intervening on tenant-related cases.

In mid-October, Bolton at Home contacted the regulator to say it had found 160 of its properties to be without a valid gas safety certificate, because more than a year had elapsed since the last check. Landlords are required by law to carry out annual gas safety checks.

“In some cases the certificates had been expired for a number of years,” the HCA notice said. “The breach exposed a number of tenants to the potential of serious harm for lengthy periods.”

The landlord breached the regulator’s Home Standard and as a consequence there was the potential for serious detriment to Bolton at Home’s tenants.

The regulator will consider whether this case raises concerns about Bolton at Home’s governance.

It said: “The necessary inspections were overdue in a significant number of cases.

“This is clear evidence of a breach of the statutory obligation to carry out gas servicing and thus of the Home standard in respect of the requirement to meet all applicable statutory requirements that provide for the health and safety of the occupants in providers’ homes.”

Bolton at Home have since completed the outstanding gas safety checks and has confirmed to the regulator that all of its properties now have valid certificates.

The landlord has instigated an internal and an external investigation of the issue and has developed an action plan to make sure that the situation does not happen again, the HCA said.

A Bolton at Home spokesperson said: “Our instant response was to gas service each property and instigate an independent investigation, which identified the cause to be a data issue. We’ve since put processes in place to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

“The HCA has confirmed to us that no further action is required.”

The regulator also today upgraded the governance ratings of two landlords, Saffron Housing Trust and First Wessex ,from a “G2” to he highest possible “G1” rating.

First Wessex was downgraded to a G2 last February after missing gas safety checks.g

The HCA published 17 regulatory judgements in total today (see table).

Provider NameGovernanceViability
Accord Housing AssociationG1V1
Affinity Sutton GroupG1V1
Bolton at Home G1V2
Boston Mayflower G1V1
Bromsgrove District Housing Trust G1V1
East Midlands Housing GroupG1V1
East Thames Group G1V2
First Wessex GroupG1V1
Habinteg Housing Association G1V1
Home Group G1V1
Housing Plus Group G1V1
Liverpool Mutual Homes G1V1
London & Quadrant Housing G1V1
Metropolitan Housing TrustG1V2
Network Housing Group G1V1
Pierhead Housing AssociationG1V1
Pioneer Housing and Community Group G1V1
Raven Housing Trust G1V1
Saffron Housing TrustG1V1
Saxon Weald Homes G1V1
Southway Housing TrustG1V1
Sovereign Housing Association LimitedG1V1
Swan Housing Association Limited G1V1
Symphony Housing Group LimitedG1V1
Two Castles Housing Association LimitedG1V1
United Housing AssociationG1V1
Waterloo Housing GroupG1V1

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