Landlord exposed ‘substantial’ number of tenants to gas safety risk

Inside Housing – 5/3/14

In a regulatory notice today the HCA said Guinness Partnership has failed to meet its home standard and breached the ‘serious detriment’ threshold for intervention on consumer complaints.The regulator is now considering what action to take.

The notice said: ‘The Guinness Partnership contacted the regulator to inform us that during a data reconciliation exercise a number of out of date gas safety certificates had been identified. In some cases the certificates had been expired a long time.’  The notice said further investigation by Guinness Partnership ‘revealed additional out of date gas certificates across the partnership’s housing stock’.

‘The necessary inspections were overdue in a significant number of cases, exposing a substantial number of tenants to the potential of serious detriment, with the risk exposure being undetected for lengthy periods,’ the HCA said.

After the problems came to light, Guinness Partnership commissioned an independent review of its gas safety systems and processes, the HCA said. The review has yet to report its findings.

Guinness Partnership is the third housing association to breach the serious detriment threshold for gas safety breaches in the past five months. Gallions Housing Association and Your Housing Group have also been culpable of missing gas safety checks.

Unlike GHA and YHG, Guinness Partnership has not been placed on the HCA ‘watch-list’ as being at risk of losing its compliant financial viability or governance ratings. Inside Housing understands this is because Guinness Partnership promptly informed the HCA of the gas safety failures itself and commissioned a review. In the cases of GHA a tenant first brought the problems to light, while the issues at YHG were flagged up to the regulator by a former employee.

Since April 2012 the English social housing regulator has only intervened on tenant complaints where its ‘serious detriment’ threshold has been breached, meaning there is actual or potential harm to tenants.

Guinness Partnership was unavailable for comment.