Information on central heating servicing
The housing repairs department is responsible for carrying out an annual safety check of all the gas and solid fuel appliances belonging to the council in our housing stock. Faulty appliances can cause explosions and can also give off poisonous carbon monoxide fumes, with possibly fatal consequences. We therefore have a legal duty to make sure all of our gas appliances are checked every year by properly qualified gas engineers.
The council complies with 'The Landlord & Tenant Act 1985', 'The Housing Act 1985 Part XVIII', and 'Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998' with particular reference to regulation 30 - 'Duties of Landlords'.
Council tenants also have a legal duty to allow council staff into their homes to carry out these annual checks. If tenants do not allow access, the council will apply for a court order to give them the legal right to gain entry to do the work, and to charge the tenant for the cost of putting right any damages that results.
When the safety check is due the following procedure is taken to arrange an appointment for the service to be carried out. The actual work is undertaken by the council's approved contractor, Liberty Gas Group Limited. The procedure to gain access will be in three parts, these are undertaken by the contractor, the council's housing department and the council's legal department.
Steps to be undertaken by the contractor:
- An appointment letter will be sent by the contractor to attend and carry out the gas servicing works. If the appointment is not convenient, an alternative date can be arranged by contacting the contractor directly
- If no access was made, a further appointment will be sent seven days later for the contractor to attend the property to carry out the servicing works
- If no access was made again, seven days later, a third appointment letter will sent by the contractor
- If no response is received following the three appointments, a referral is made to the housing repairs department
Steps to be undertaken by the housing repairs department:
- Once the referral has been made to the repairs department, they will send out a 'no access' letter to the tenant seven days after receiving the referral
- If there has still been no response seven days after the previous 'no access' letter, a second 'no access' letter will be sent out
During the period when the housing repairs department is trying to make contact with the tenant, they will liaise with other departments within the council, for example, Estate Management and the Councils Legal Section.
Joint action by council and contractor
If there is no response to the letters sent by the housing department, the contractor will apply marker tape (stating 'Access Required for Gas Service') across the main entrance doorway and over the lock. A tenant out card will be left giving details of the action the tenant needs to take to arrange access. A digital photograph, with a date and time shown, is taken of the front door with the tape applied. This is forwarded to the council.
Steps to be undertaken by the legal department
The legal department will acknowledge the referral of the case from the housing repairs department within three days of receipt. A final warning letter will be sent, giving the tenant seven days to make an appointment for inspection. The letter will be hand delivered and will have endorsed on it in red the words 'Final Notice'. If the tenant fails to respond then County Court Action will follow in one of the following alternative forms:
- An application for an injunction to gain access
- In exceptional circumstances, an application to seek repossession of the property
Where formal court action proves necessary, as part of the application process, an officer of the housing department will be required to make a statement based on this agreed procedure.
If repossession of the property is sought then this will protract the procedure as the first stage is to serve a notice on the tenant, namely, a Notice of Seeking Possession. Thereafter, an application to court can only follow 28 days after the served Notice.
When a court order is obtained
When an injunction is granted
This will be served on the tenant at the property (by posting if all other means fail). If there is still no co-operation then the contractor and the relevant officer of the council, accompanied by the police if deemed necessary, will visit the property to gain access. If all else fails then force will be used to gain access in order for the work to be carried out.
When an Order for Repossession is granted
This will be served on the tenant at the property (by posting if all other means fail), and thereafter if there is still not co-operation then the eviction will proceed in the usual way. A request for a Warrant of Possession will be sent to the Court Bailiff.
Last updated: 24/10/2017 11:58