Mayor of London and London Councils sign up to gas safety campaign
THE Mayor of London has pledged his support for a campaign to improve gas safety for millions of people.
Boris Johnson has added his name to the list of over 150 housing associations, local authorities, MPs, Peers and industry leaders calling for changes to the legal process used to ensure social landlords can carry out annual safety checks.
The campaign has also won backing from London Councils, a cross-party organisation that represents London’s 32 borough councils and the City of London.
The campaign, founded by Home Group, the Association of Gas Safety Managers (AGSM) and CORGI Technical Services, calls for social housing providers to be given the same legal rights to carry out gas safety checks as local authorities. It also calls for clearer standards on entry process and an MOT style of safety check.
Mark Henderson, Home Group chief executive, said: “Gaining the support of the Mayor of London and London Councils demonstrates how widely supported the Gas Access Campaign has become. The Mayor’s London Rental Standard campaign is already raising awareness of the importance of gas safety checks in privately rented homes, so it is fantastic that he has recognised our work to simplify access for social landlords, increasing the safety of tenants and saving the sector as much as £0.5bn in the next 10 years.”
Richard Blakeway, Deputy Mayor for housing, land and property, said: “Gas safety is an important concern for the Mayor. I am aware that housing associations sometimes struggle to carry out such checks on properties occupied by tenants who are sometimes hard to engage, and I am convinced this is sufficient justification for giving housing associations the same powers as local authorities. I hope that the campaign will be successful in increasing public and individual safety, promoting responsibility amongst landlords and making substantial efficiency savings.”
Mayor Sir Steve Bullock, London Councils executive member for housing, said: “An improved and simplified legal process could be of benefit to all of us, in the interests of safer estates, and we therefore welcome the campaign for drawing attention to options for improving access.”
Claire Heyes, chief executive of the AGSM, said: “The level of support for this campaign is overwhelming and cannot be ignored – a triumph for common sense. Boris Johnson and the London Councils have significant influence and their support will add enormous weight to our campaign.”
The Law rightly requires all landlords to carry out annual safety checks on any properties they own which have gas supplies. If tenants refuse entry for these checks to be carried out, they put their own lives and the lives of their neighbours at risk. But, while Local Authorities can get same-day court orders to force entry to properties where tenants refuse access to gas engineers, it can take up to four months for social housing providers to gain access. The gas access campaign calls for a change in the law to give regulated landlords the same timely access as their local authority counterparts, specifically through an amendment to the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations.
To sign the Gas Access petition visit: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/68910