Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Landlord failed to carry out 'significant' number of gas safety checks

A social landlord failed to carry out gas safety checks on a ‘significant’ number of properties, the social housing regulator has said.

Your Housing Group, a 32,000-home landlord, breached the regulator’s ‘serious detriment’ threshold for intervention on tenant complaints, the Homes and Communities Agency confirmed today.

The HCA said it had found that a number of gas safety inspections were overdue. It said: ‘There is also substantial evidence…of weakness in the gas servicing controls and systems at YHG exposing a significant number of tenants to the potential of serious detriment, with the risk of exposure being undetected for lengthy periods.’

The HCA concluded YHG had failed to meet the regulator’s home standard and the regulator is now considering using its enforcement powers.

The problems surfaced when a former employee contacted the regulator to warn of serious weaknesses in YHG’s gas safety regime, the HCA said. The regulator found YHG had previously commissioned its own investigation and was delivering an action plan to rectify the faults. It had also taken disciplinary action against staff and commissioned an audit.

This audit, said the HCA found weaknesses in YHG’s gas safety regime. It said: ‘The gas contractors’ property database and service records were not reconciled with the provider’s own records so that the provider could not be sure of the integrity of its gas safety monitoring and reporting.’

The HCA said some of the issues have been addressed, but there have been further issues with gas safety, including the discovery of a number of properties without an up-to-date gas safety certificate and no checks made on catering equipment on 12 commercial sites, including retirement villages.

YHG is working to resolve the issues, the HCA said. The regulator only now intervenes on tenant complaints where there is actual or potential serious harm to tenants.

Brian Cronin, chief executive of YHG, insisted the problems only affected a ‘small percentage’ of the organisation’s properties. YHG refused to say however exactly how many properties were affected.

Mr Cronin said: ‘We take the safety of our residents extremely seriously and we are disappointed that our usual high standards were not maintained in a very small percentage of our properties.

‘Our residents can be reassured that YHG is currently 100 percent compliant in this area, and our current efforts are focussed on maintaining compliance through a robust gas maintenance programme. We will continue to work closely with the HCA on this matter to ensure that they are satisfied that the situation has been fully resolved.’

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