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Posted On: 16-09-2019
Posted In: Housing

Gas Safety Week 2019 posterToday is the launch of national Gas Safety Week and Mid Devon District Council is reminding residents about the importance of having an annual gas safety inspection.

The inspections are a legal requirement for all landlords, the Council included, and are vital in ensuring appliances and pipe work are safe for use.

However, despite the safety implications nearly half of the Council’s tenants do not allow inspectors access to their property, at the first scheduled appointment, in order to carry out the safety test.

In a recent case a tenant of MDDC was taken to court and an injunction order secured requiring the tenant to allow access to their home within 48 hours. The tenant had repeatedly ignored appointments, letters, texts and phone calls and had refused to allow gas engineers into their home to carry out the simple 20 minute inspection. Following the court proceedings the tenant was also ordered to pay £1800 legal fees and subsequently allowed the necessary access.

The inspection, which is pre-arranged at a convenient time, is free to all tenants and also includes a service of boilers and other Council owned gas appliances.

Warren Doe, MDDC Gas Administrator said:

“Gas safety is quite rightly a priority for us. Not only is a Gas Safety Inspection a legal requirement each year, and also part of any tenancy agreement between the Council and tenant, but it ensures properties are safe for those living there and those around them. The safety engineers test gas appliances, pipework, chimneys and flues, and very importantly also check that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are in full working order.”

The Council owns 2,225 properties with a gas supply which all require an annual inspection. However, around 40 per cent of tenants do not allow entry on the first pre-arranged visit, resulting in further follow up visits and reminders via text, telephone and letter. As a result the Council actually carries out more than 3,800 inspection visits per year resulting in an additional cost of around £54,000 to contractors, Liberty Group, which is reflected in the additional contract costs to the Council.

Cllr Simon Clist, Cabinet Member for Housing and Property Services, said:

“As a responsible landlord we must do everything we can to ensure these annual inspections are carried out and our residents are safe. Repeatedly failing to allow our gas contractor entry is not something we can allow to happen and failing to do so could have fatal cost to life and a devastating impact on property. We hope this court action sends a clear message that the Council will take all necessary steps to ensure compliance.”

Gas Safety Week runs from 16-22 September 2019 and sees organisations from across the UK working together to raise awareness of the dangers of poorly maintained gas appliances, which can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

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