Gaining access to properties to carry out gas safety checks that are required by law is one of the biggest headaches facing Housing Associations. North Lincolnshire Homes have put in place an innovative Guaranteed Access policy with full support from their senior management. Gareth Davey and Phillippa Sturdy described to the AGSM members at the Westminster Reception how they had set it up and how it was working.
“We needed a practical and reasonable approach to gain access to properties,” said Phillippa. “Putting in place injunctions and going through the court process was placing a high demand on resources, so we needed a better solution. Initially our solution was opposed by senior management, but after one of our Directors attended the Gas Safety Management Conference in April this year, they better understood the issues and within two weeks our proposals were accepted.”
“We now have in place a policy of three contact attempts with the tenant to try and gain entry,” continued Phillippa. “If the first contact fails, we send a recorded delivery letter. If that fails then we hand-deliver a letter, giving 24 hours of our intension to make access, with or without the tenant being there. If this fails then we will make access with an ASB team and a gas team, we change the locks and cap off the gas. We have successfully used this process since May this year and have achieved 100% access for several months.”
Gareth Davey at North Lincs Homes identified the many Pros to the Policy: “There is an increase in gas safety, a reduction in risk, compliance with the law, the Policy reduces the costs and the KPIs are achieveable. The main disadvantage is that there is as yet no case law to back up this action.”