Health and safety has always been a key issue for all our Registered Provider (RP) clients. However this has been at the forefront of consideration within the housing sector following tragedy that took place at the Grenfell Tower in 2017.
We understand that it is imperative for RPs to have in place adequate provisions to not only protect tenants, but to ensure that you are protected against adverse publicity, potential downgrades in regulatory judgement and the potential for criminal liability, for example.
Ensuring you are taking the correct approach is, therefore, essential and some of the ways that our clients have been moving forward are as follows:
- Allowing for investment in health and safety improvements across their stock;
- Considering the stock transfer of outlying stock to a more locally based RP who is better able to manage health and safety programmes within their locality;
- Reviewing long leases held by the RP to ensure that they are clear which party is ultimately responsible for health and safety. An example is checking who holds the responsibility for the upkeep of fire doors;
- Ensuring that, when entering into long leases, that there are clear provisions to recover contributions towards the cost of health and safety changes in the future. This may include obliging leaseholders to be responsible for gas checks and requiring leaseholders to make other health and safety orientated changes to the property (for example, fitting fire doors).
- Ensuring that they have the strong structure of good governance underpinning the whole organisation. This includes undertaking reviews of current policies to ensure that they are up to date and protect both the organisation and the tenant. Good governance includes ensuring that proper stress testing is being undertaken and checks and balances are in place (and recorded accordingly); and
- Ensuring that appropriate health and safety measures are in place not just for residents but also for staff members.
At Capsticks we are able to provide you with advice and assistance with any queries or issues you may have on the above.
Please do contact Susie Rogers, Partner or Rachel Collins, Senior Solicitor if you would like to have an informal discussion on anything raised above.