Landlords and contractors who are facing increasing challenges to access properties are set for a boost after tech company Gas Tag announced it is making its COVID-19 functionality free to use.
Launched earlier this month, Gas Tag’s new functionality makes it easier for landlords and contractors to report and evidence incidents where they have been unable to access (UTA) a property due to self-isolation.
The move to make the functionality free comes after new data showed the increasing challenges landlords and contractors face accessing properties to carry out important safety work.
Originally developed to support the organisation’s current clients with gas compliance and fire safety, Gas Tag has opened up the functionality so that it can be used to cover all areas where access attempts are being made.
The decision to make the feature free comes after staff at Gas Tag noticed a sharp increase in failed access attempts being reported on the Gas Tag system after the UK Government announced its stay at home guidance.
John Roche, Chief Operating Officer at Gas Tag, said: “As an organisation, we pride ourselves on working closely with the sector and developing products to help them carry out their work and keep people safe. That is why we have decided to open up our functionality for free to all landlords and contractors during the pandemic.
“Our data shows that it is becoming harder and harder for landlords and contractors to access properties to carry out their work. With many organisations also facing staff shortages, repeated failed access attempts can prove costly.”
“Through our Isolation UTA feature, landlords and engineers can easily mark incidents where residents are self-isolating, allowing them to manage their resources effectively and ensure they can access homes when it is safe to do so.”
Landlords are currently being advised that where they are unable to access a property to carry out work that they should be able to provide evidence that reasonable attempts have been made.
Users of Gas Tag’s free functionality will be able to take a geotagged, time-stamped photographs of a property when they are unable to access and mark the incident as due to self-isolation.
Housing Plus Group, which manages 18,000 properties across Shropshire and Staffordshire, is one of the clients who is already benefiting from the new data available to it.
Stephen Collins, Executive Director of Property at Housing Plus Group, said: “The data we are pulling from the Gas Tag system is enabling us to proactively manage our gas compliance in the face of COVID-19.
“Before Gas Tag introduced the new functionality, the granular data enabled us to easily identify a rise in UTA and ensure we had real-time evidence of engineers being at a property. However, we are now able to pinpoint individual incidents where a resident is self-isolating and ensure we are taking appropriate steps to gain access while keeping everyone safe.
“The system also allows us to mark self-isolation via the portal. This means we can prevent engineers from turning up to properties where we know they can’t gain access and instead use our resources effectively. ”