A CAMPAIGN to change the law and make it easier for housing providers to protect people in their homes has reached the one million mark.
Social housing providers collectively owning more than one million properties have thrown their weight behind the Gas Access campaign aimed at making it easier to access homes to check gas appliances.
The Gas Access campaign is being spearheaded by Home Group with the Association of Gas Safety Managers and CORGI Technical Services.
The campaign is aimed at tackling a deficiency in the law which prevents housing associations from gaining entry to customers’ homes in a timely manner if they are denied access by customers. The full details of the campaign can be found at www.gasaccesscampaign.org.uk
The issue is having an impact across the sector and it is estimated that it will cost social housing providers as much as £0.5bn in the next ten years unless the law is changed – wasted money which could instead be invested in providing new homes.
61 housing associations including Affinity Sutton, Gentoo, L&Q, Halton Housing, Riverside and South Yorkshire Housing Association have joined the call from Home Group, the Association of Gas Safety Managers and CORGI Technical Services for registered providers to be granted the same timely access to homes as local authorities.
Currently local authorities are able to apply to a court to gain lawful entry into homes within 24 hours of refusal by a tenant. Housing associations can take as long as four months to legally gain entry to a property.
Mark Henderson, Home Group chief executive, said: “The law as it stands is putting lives at risk and costing housing providers millions. The Gas Access campaign really seems to have struck a chord with those in the sector. The fact that we’ve hit the one 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 countless neighbours. All it needs is a couple of paragraphs in the Law amending. We trust the new Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis is on board with this campaign.”
Claire Heyes, Chief Executive of the AGSM said: “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.”
“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.”
To sign up to the campaign and put your name to a petition calling on the Government to alter the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998 visit: www.gasaccesscampaign.org.uk