Report says housing provider’s safety failings ‘exposed residents to serious harm’

09th March 2017

A government report has said that tenants in Huntingdonshire were “exposed to the risk of serious harm” after it was found that housing association Luminus had failed to comply with gas regulations in more than 1,000 of its properties.

The failings were noted as part of a report by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) which rated the Huntingdon-based company as “non-compliant”.

The report also found weaknesses in the company’s board, claiming that much of its activities were going unchallenged.

Within the report, published last week, the HCA said the association had not complied with the Landlord Gas Safety Requirement certificates in a large number of its properties

“Having considered the number of properties affected, and the systemic nature of the problem, the regulator has concluded that the breach of the home standard exposed tenants to the risk of serious harm,” the report stated.

The certificate requires a gas safety check every 12 months and calls for any problems to be rectified.

In the report, however, it was noted that more than 1,000 homes had not held a valid gas safety certificate for at least some part of the previous two years. Most of the

certificates, the report said, had been overdue for a short period. Luminus owns more than 7,000 properties.

Responding to the report, Luminus has said the breach was unacceptable and confirmed it has worked hard to sort out the failings.

Mike Forrest, newly-appointed chairman of the Luminus group board, said: “Luminus is uncompromisingly committed to the health, safety and welfare of the public and employees. Therefore, the gas safety failing we identified in 2016 was both disappointing in the context of the company’s established track record, as well as unacceptable to us as a company that is known to have genuine care and concern for our residents’ wellbeing.”

The HCA also found the company’s board was not “maintaining effective control over Luminus and its activities”.

“The board is receiving inadequate information, and has not demonstrated it is sufficiently challenging in considering the information it does receive,” the report added.

On a number of occasions it found the board had not exercised its role with appropriate skill or diligence.

Mr Forrest added: “At the heart of the Luminus story is the desire to listen, to learn and to improve. The board, in acknowledging the judgement will, as part of its reflective process, consider diligently the evidence adduced by the HCA from the in-depth assessment when this is provided.

“The board is pleased that our viability grade remains unchanged, and is committed to continuing its long-standing, transparent and co-operative relationship with the

HCA.”

He added: “The board is confident that this will lead to effective actions that will buttress a sound degree of co-regulatory assurance going forward. We are here to serve our communities and the board, executive and all the staff and intend to press forward and make this a year of new beginnings for the benefit of all.”